Blog #4

When trying to communicate a crisis, it’s important to understand your surroundings. Today, technology has a strong pull on humans to the point where it’s become a tool that’s used everyday. It only makes sense to communicate with people through the mediums they use in their everyday lives. As an avid Twitter and Facebook user myself, I can easily say that I have found out important news through these mediums. For example, I found out about Osama Bin Laden’s death through Twitter as opposed to a printed medium such as the newspaper.

Finding out about Osama’s death isn’t an emergency, per say, but it’s an important news story that I found out through social media. Many people are opposed to using social media for multiple reasons. All I have to say to that is suppose Osama’s death WAS an actual emergency such as a tornado approaching fast. I would have been one of the first people to know about the crisis and could have warned the people around me to take necessary safety steps hopefully saving innocent lives.It takes too many steps and time to write a newspaper article, edit it, publish, and in even some cases, print it. With Facebook and Twitter, the communication is instant. It usually takes less than a minute to write a post and the word is out there for everyone to see almost instantly.

Many people nowadays have smart phones with Facebook and Twitter applications. I know these two applications have “push notifications” in which the user is notified whenever there’s a new post involving them. This is another example of instant communication, especially since people don’t go anywhere without their phones anymore.

Since so many people are using social media websites as ways to get their news, companies have created Twitter and Facebook accounts for that exact purpose. Twitter even has its own emergency response user called CDC Emergency (see screen shot below). The description of the page is as follows:

CDC Emergency Preparedness and Response: increasing the nation’s ability to prepare for and respond to public health emergencies.

With over 1.5 million people following, it’s evident that CDC is a source many people rely on to get their news, including crisis. As you can see in the screen shot, the top tweet is about how they updated their information about hurricanes and what to do in that situation. CDC is keeping their followers informed, even when there isn’t a crisis.

Of course, there are kinks to the system. One catch is that one has to be following or be friends with the right sources in order to see this instant communication. Twitter allows users to continuously “retweet” posts to their followers until it reaches mass amounts of people. Anymore, users can see what their friends are liking on Facebook with a continuous live feed of the action. If enough people “like” a certain post, mass amounts of people are then in the know about an emergency.

People might argue that finding out about emergencies are all about being in the right place at the right time. One must be on social media websites at the right time in order to find out about these crises. The same argument can be used for television though. I wasn’t watching TV at the time they announced Osama’s death, rather I was surfing Twitter. Again with the cell phone point, people are always reachable. If a crisis were to happen, it’s easy to send someone a text message or call them, or in this case Tweet or Facebook message them, and know that you’ll reach them quickly.

People in my generation are very tech savvy. People in older generations may argue that my generation is growing dumber by the minute by constantly being on these social media websites. While this has some truth to it, I feel that people who are more tech savvy will be one of the firsts to know when an emergency does, in fact, happen.

  1. November 3, 2011 at 4:40 pm

    Good post overall. The push notifications is a good feature of social or mobile media that is very relevant to disasters.

    Be sure to have an actual title to your post. You have the “Blog 4” part, which is good, but you also need some sort of post title.

  2. April 3, 2013 at 3:03 pm

    Reblogged this on allisonolexa23.

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