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November 2, 2012 / laurencox12

Social Media and Sandy

Days after Hurricane Sandy made landfall, the effects of the storm are still being felt along the East Coast. Shore towns had their streets turned into beaches and much of New York City has been immobilized. Throughout the storm and its aftermath, one thing has remained constant – Sandy’s presence on social media.

Before Sandy even developed into a hurricane, it earned the nickname “Frankenstorm,” which quickly began appearing as a hashtag on Twitter in the days leading up to Sandy’s arrival on the East Coast. With Halloween approaching, people jumped at the chance to tweet witty comments and jokes with the #Frankenstorm hashtag. As the storm came closer, #Frankenstorm tweets shifted from comedic to serious and users began to use the hashtag to deliver important information about the hurricane and its impact.

People on the East Coast and across the country put their social media accounts to use as Sandy approached, and during the storm users shared their experiences through text and video. #Sandy was the most popular trending topic on Twitter for some time, followed by other phrases such as New Jersey and East Coast. During the storm, 10 photos tagged with #Sandy appeared every second on Instagram. Facebook was overrun with posts about Hurricane Sandy.

Besides individual citizens sharing Sandy-related content on social media sites, news organizations and government agencies also took to these channels  to share vital information with those who were being hit by the storm. Governor Chris Christie provided New Jersey citizens with a play-by-play of every step the state was taking, including the closure of the barrier islands and evacuation plans. News organizations pushed the latest info from various press conferences to their followers. Many anchors even incorporated the posts of their viewers into live broadcasts. Once people started losing power, this strategy became more important than ever.

In the days that have followed Hurricane Sandy, these various social media platforms have served a multitude of purposes. Those impacted by the storm were able to update loved ones on their status. Government officials, such as Cory Booker, have been able to directly address the concerns of their constituents. Average citizens and celebrities alike taken to social media to share information about transportation updates, ways to donate to relief efforts and things like community charging stations. 

Despite all the damage done by Hurricane Sandy as she ravaged the East Coast, social media has remained a constant force in the lives of people impacted by the storm and those who are following the situation. At a time when social media continues to grow in popularity each day, Hurricane Sandy showed us exactly how beneficial these platforms can be.

What was the best use of social media you saw during Hurricane Sandy? Share examples and links below!

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