The Moving Power of Social Media During a Crisis
Social media has the power to connect millions of people across the globe, so what happens if we use this power in crisis situations?
Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram all play a big part in the everyday lives of the modern person. It is used to waste time while on the subway, to connect with loved one, and is also used as a tool to turn to in your time of need. While we are becoming more and more connected with each other through the use of social media, it can also create a disconnect with the people immediately around us. So, when dire situations arise and the help of those close to you is just not enough, you can turn to social media.
Using Twitter for Disasters
European Journalism Observatory. Picture of Journalists in Disaster
When disasters hit, it is hard to immediately know what to do in the immediate situation, especially if you did not know a disaster was even coming. One thing that Twitter and Facebook have started doing really well is they started to broadcasts disasters as they happen. Instead of waiting at your TV or if you are out of the house and don’t have access to a TV, you can instead look at you phone to find the latest news on what is going on. Twitter also has many different accounts that will let you look up information about current disasters, or ones that will send you alerts when they happen.
These types of accounts are also very useful because they can retweet or share media from people directly in that area. Sometimes journalists are not able to get to the area right away so it helps that there are people who can share what is going on so that everyone can be in the know. Please see the below tweet from the Ready Los Angeles twitter account that supports disasters on the LA area. This tweet was one from a personal Twitter account that they were able to repost.
#BREAKING: A large tree has come down on Bundy Drive near Wilshire Blvd. It crushed two cars on the way down. City crews will now come out to chop up and remove the tree. #CBSLA pic.twitter.com/Ho4U2Dv3xC — Mike Rogers (@MikeRogersTV) April 11, 2019
Another good account is Operation USA and they tweet about current disasters in the United States and also give information on how to assist those affected.
Visit https://t.co/qQtgeihVPT to support Operation USA's #floodrelief efforts in #SouthDakota now. Thank you for your generosity. https://t.co/sFqdpy7GII (5/5) — Operation USA (@OperationUSA) March 27, 2019
Operations USA also accepts donations and has a website explaining how they help during disasters and how you can help through social media. Now that we are all so reliant on our phones as a way to get by, it is important that we can also use these tools for when we desperately need them. More and more organizations like Disaster USA are popping up and using social media as an avenue to get their voice heard.
Twitter as a Way to Help Solve Crime
When we were younger new outlets would have to resort to putting faces on milk boxes in order to raise awareness about kidnapping victims, but now during the 21st century we are able to immediately share information about those affected.
This is what I would look like today, at the age of 41. Artists from @MissingKids drew this in hopes you would recognize me. #Justice4Luna pic.twitter.com/SwItJD1KzV — PBSO (@PBCountySheriff) May 28, 2017
Christy Luna. Observer.com
As seen in the picture above and to the left, Marjorie “Christy” Luna was a kidnapping victim in the 1980’s that was never found. Once the tweet was published it easily reached millions of viewers. While she is still not found the Palm Beach sheriff’s department wanted to use this type of journalism as a way to bring more attention to could cases. Unfortunately, during the time of said kidnapping they did not have enough resources to find her and hopefully with the use of social media we can stop this from happening ever again.
If anyone is interested in learning more about how the face of social media is changing to help in crime I gave provided a few links below for you to explore.
Below is an interesting article on how your Facebook can now be subpoenaed and used against you in court cases.
Here is another link below that will shine some light and provided revalant link to more information about the good and the bad of using social media for fighting crime.
While there are many times that the things said on social media may want to make us tear our hair out, we do not want to forget that there would be many things that we couldn’t do without it. While many people have know journalism as just someone writing in a newspaper or broadcasting on TV, with the connectedness of social media it is now easier for journalists to share their stories to millions of people at once. There are also many things changing on social media everyday, so who knows what modern journalism will look like in the next 5 years.