The American Red Cross recently released its latest findings on social media use during emergencies based on information collected prior to, and during, Hurricane Isaac. Overall, research suggests a significant increase in the number of individuals using mobile apps and social media to obtain situational awareness information and to report event related information to others. Of particular note in that regard, 76% expected help to arrive within 3 hours after posting a need on a social site. Highlights of the report can be found in the infographic above. For additional details, or to download one of the Red Cross's emergency apps, use the links below:
Comment: The bi-directional capability of social media is an elephant in the room that the Emergency Services Sector (ESS) is going to have to deal with, and the sooner, the better. It's one thing to think of social media - Twitter and the like - as an ESS broadcast tool for sending out messages to the community of users about what is happening during an event. It's completely another thing figuring out how to harvest and appropriately channel the in-coming situational awareness data stream potentially available from the legions of human sensors who are now armed the data reporting tool we call the smartphone.
Lead graphic: American Red Cross