I think social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are some of the most relevant places for people (especially college-aged) to find out information. For example, I found out Kim Kardashian was getting a divorce because I got on Twitter. While this may not be a “disaster” it still proves that these media sources are very crucial when it comes to finding out information.
When you watch the news, it is on at a given time everyday. Whereas Facebook and Twitter are always accessible. I can go online anytime, almost anywhere are find out news. Friends of friends can repost and retweet and I can see the information. If I miss something on the news, I have to wait until the next showing to get my information.
I think people are attracted to social media because they pick when and how they receive their news. Most people like things short and sweet, Twitter especially appeals to this type of audience. If a disaster has occurred, most people will look to Twitter or Facebook for their information. Disaster centers can put their information up on these social media websites, and trust that people will pass the message along.