Before Sandy hit, I wrote briefly about Google’s use of a crisis map to help residents and responders.
Since then, we have seen actions across the social media boundaries that have helped those affected by Sandy.
- The Fire Department of New York had a one-woman Twitter response team. Emily Rahimi responded to cries for help when residents were unable to get through to 911 or 311.
- New York utility provider Con Edison also used social media to get out pertinent information and respond to customers.
- Philly311 greatly helped Philadelphia respond to questions and disseminate information.
And then there is Cory Booker, mayor of Newark, New Jersey. I’ve written before about Mayor Booker’s use of Twitter. During Sandy and the ongoing recovery, Booker has tirelessly worked to respond to citizens and deliver necessary supplies to those in need. And when a woman messaged him that her power wasn’t on, he invited her and any other residents to stay at his home. He provided wi-fi, his DVD collection, power outlets to charge phones, heat, and food. Pretty incredible in this day and age. For a collection of his best tweets, check out this link.
I think folks, and governments and companies, are really seeing that social media is a two-way street that can work in their favor. But in most of these cases, it seems as if one or two dedicated individuals go beyond the call of duty to help people. And I wonder if the responses would have been the same without these vital employees.