Social media has become a revolutionary tool for businesses and brands. However, platforms such as Twitter and Facebook have redefined communication, especially during natural disasters and emergencies.
The United States is currently facing Hurricane Michael. Many of my closest friends are stuck right in the middle of Michael’s path in Alabama, Florida and Georgia. All day, my friends have been posting videos and statuses, ensuring everyone that they’re safe. News channels have Facebook live streams and have constantly been posting video updates about the current state and whereabouts of the hurricane and the areas affected.
During a natural disaster, Facebook will activate a Safety Check. Users close to the site of the disaster can mark themselves safe and notify all of their friends. The feature was developed in the wake of the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. They have also activated safety checks during non-natural disasters, like terrorist attacks.
Facebook and Twitter have also created a donate feature when a catastrophe strikes that raises money in support of relief efforts. During an emergency, people who want to help now have a place they can turn towards to donate.
Without realizing, we are all constantly sharing our whereabouts on social media by posting our vacation photos and plans. We do need to be careful about the information we share about ourselves online, but the features Facebook and Twitter have created for the world during these moments is a positive part of this digital era.