The Social Media Eye on Superstorm Sandy

Hurricane Sandy has hit the northeast region of the United States and the social media community has been able to follow every update. From the series of photoshopped pictures that flooded Twitter on Monday  to this guy who felt the need to jet-ski in the Hudson River hours before the storm was scheduled to hit Manhattan to the insightful and resourceful updates from news anchors and city leaders, everyone had an outlet to choose from for the latest news regarding the storm.

In our world of constant connectivity and the real-time news cycle, when a massive storm closes the stock market for two days, cancels more than 7,500 flights, shuts off power for more than 7 million people and closes more than 180 roads, we need to know every last detail.

New York City Metropolitan Transit Authority Chairman Joseph J. Lhota says, “In 108 years our employees have never faced a challenge like the one that confronts us now.” Many of us turn to social media and the Internet to get our information at a time like this. Here are a few ways social media has captured the eye of Sandy.

Google has created an interactive crisis map that tracks the current location and forecasts where the storm is headed. This map allows people to see the closest emergency shelters, read the latest public alerts and interact with webcams and YouTube videos that have been posted showing the storm’s destruction. The New York Times has even placed a webcam atop their building in downtown New York City for a unique view of the storm.

A Hurricane Sandy community page was created on Facebook and as of Tuesday morning has generated more than 43,000 “likes.” This page has images showing how people are preparing for the storm and the aftermath it left behind as well as the latest wind speeds, threat index level and the current whereabouts of the storm. Also, thousands of people outside of the northeastern region have sent their prayers and words of encouragement for those in the path of the storm via the community page.

The National Hurricane Center has created an app that contains satellite images, bulletins, video updates, wind and gust speed and the direction and pressure of the storm. This real-time information is available on iPhone and Android markets and costs $2.99.

The power of social media is evident during this difficult time for the Northeast. Even when the power is out we now have ways to stay safe and updated on the powerful storm. We take it for granted today but social media has changed the way we communicate as a society.

Whether you refer to it as a superstorm or a hurricane, Sandy is wreaking havoc, causing loss of life and extensive damage to cities on the East Coast. Our thoughts and prayers at Brandpoint are with all of those who affected by this deadly storm.

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