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What To Expect With #Sandy And Social Media

8am Mon 10/29 great Halloween prep. Horrible #sandyinphilly prep
How not to prepare for a storm: these decorations will not last until Halloween.

Social Media and Traditional Media

Quick thoughts on what to expect on social media and traditional media with Hurricane Sandy.

  • Standing out in a storm when you should be inside is not news coverage, it is disaster porn.
  • In the name of covering news the traditional media will risk the lives of reporters and crews. Of course it’s hard for us to believe their hype when they’re not acting in a way consistent with it.

Screen capture from Good Morning America.

User Generated Content

There’s an alternative:
  • Saavy media organizations have figured out that compiling user generated content (photos, video, and eyewitness reports) is a good investment.
  • Some of those saavy media organizations will get punked. They’ll show footage of other storms, not the one in progress.

Dealing with Stress and Disruption

Back on social media:
  • Any change in routine can be stressful. Beyond the immediate challenges of dealing with bad weather widespread closings of work, transit, and school creates major disruptions.
  • Major events can bring out the best in people. On Twitter a set of Sandy related hashtags has informal emerged with people sharing tips, news, and information (e.g., #sandy, #sandyinphilly, #sandychat,).
  • People deal with stress in different ways. Some people channel anxiety into preparation. Others prefer to minimize the threat. Expect conflict when these two styles meet.

Good, Bad and Ugly

Social media magnifies life:

  • What you think is a great topical joke may be equally funny to some and offensive to others. Err or on the side of compassion.
  • By quickly relating news and information, social media can save lives in disasters. Keep your information timely but also stick to what you can accurate report.
  • Officials are in a no-win situation when it comes to be storms. No matter what they do they will either be criticized for doing too little to prepare people for doing too much to scare people. Both of those reactions will be even more intense on social media.

Our flock adjusts to it's back porch storm shelter. #sandyinphilly
How to prepare for a storm: bring in those pets.

Photo credits: Steven L. Johnson (CC-ATR license)

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