The Red River Flooding of 2009 isn’t the first crisis that had people using social media from the front lines. As new communication tools keep disaster victims in touch with each other, the rest of us are also lurking and observing.
It changes the nature of news coverage and it changes the way others tune into the crisis. News organizations like WCCO and The Star Tribune – and including our own newsroom – included a Twitter feed of updates that relate to the Red River flood. For the Twitter user, this extends the instant publication and for the reader this is an instant report.
No matter what the crisis, does it matter to the individual as long as friends, family, and even FEMA (@femainfocus) might be following the Tweets and Facebook updates? Or that media producers review video and photo sites? This sort of “crowdstalking” is another way for the media to discover and define their own coverage.
Today The American Public Health Association is holding a social media and crisis communication roundtable. I’m hoping to get a recap or a link to their aggregated content around the topic, but haven’t heard back from them yet. So far I’m eavesdropping on the updates via the session’s Twitter tag, #risk20.
All this messaging and updating across multiple sites makes me wonder what your online tool of choice is during a disaster. What works for you online…and how? If you’re not involved in the crisis which tool do you use to get first person reports?