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Apr 2018

How to Use Social Media to Stay in Touch Before, During, and After a Disaster

When disasters happen, it is a definite state of devastation. From hurricanes to floods, to Tsunamis, Earthquakes and what not! The end result of them all is the same – devastation and despair. In such a situation, social media can help you get connected with your loved ones before, during and after a disaster. Let us know more about it:


1. Be Prepared


It may sound weird, but for being able to use social media appropriately in case of a disaster, you need to start having a presence in advance. Make use of a smartphone as you cannot rely on your laptop and desktop to getting a connection at the time of crisis. Add your family members in your social media accounts, connect with important handles that can help at such an hour – like local authorities and political representatives, State Emergency Management departments, State, and local agencies managing the crisis. Also, keeping a charged power bank with you at all times, and a flashlight with a USB port can be very helpful in keeping your phone charged during an emergency situation.


2. Which Social Media to use


Twitter is usually the most convenient of communication methods at such an hour, followed by Facebook. Figure out how to tweet in order to reach more people, using hashtags, and other such features that would come handy in trying to communicate with your loved one, or having someone else locate them for you.


Similarly with Facebook, being a part of local groups is a key factor. Facebook also often rolls out a disaster button where you can mark yourself safe during a disaster.


3. When the disaster actually happens:


Here are some key points you should take note of when a disaster actually strikes:

  • Post your status about being safe, or in need of help. Tag required authorities in case it is required to draw their attention.
  • Follow posts of key accounts for updates on the crisis.
  • Post your updates every few hours and check frequently to connect with your family members.
  • Post pictures of your situation often. Geotag them if possible – this will help key personnel to identify is the area needs some additional help, and if yes, then what kind of help.
  • Try to keep the vibe un-chaotic. Avoid making posts that cause panic or chaos.


4. What to do when the crisis is over?


Here are some key points one should keep in mind when the crisis is over.

  • Provide updates on support from local and political authorities on assistance and cleaning up
  • Try not to put up the negative aspects yet. The crisis situation would be a difficult and chaotic situation for all. Just after the crisis is not the right time to create some noise about it. After the situation has calmed down, and a couple of days have passed, you could share your updates. It is necessary to highlight what went wrong, but not when the families are still working on finding their families.
  • Keep posting about any requirements that your area may have. Your situation still could be unmanageable. Voicing it out can help several other families along with yours.
  • Stay connected and keep providing as well as getting updates on the crisis

Undeniably, current times are the times of being always connected, especially through social media. The World Wide Web actually connects all dots and knits the world together. At the times of a crisis, these connections come in handy. Make the best use of it during times of disaster. Stay Safe!

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