Social media has played a large role in the relief efforts for Hurricane Harvey.
Sites and apps such as Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat and more have helped those impacted by the horrific storm in Houston and surrounding areas. Traditional phone lines are unable to handle the overload of calls. Social media gives people an opportunity to reach out farther than before, NBC News reported.
There have been many rescue requests, countless relief tweets and posts to give to the Red Cross and celebrities and sports stars have taken to the Internet to get help for those in need. Social media also has helped with live updates for those seeking a way out from the floods and has given them updates on shelters and neighborhood outreach.
Allison Matherly told NBC News that she quickly found a Facebook group that coordinated relief. Other similar pages have popped up on the site. The vast number of users on Facebook and Twitter has spread news quickly.
“They are all binding together and saying, ‘If anybody needs dog food, I have some,’ to a more broad level of ‘here are resources.'” Matherly told NBC News.
Social media brings together people of all ages and all walks of life. It’s improved even in the past two years and past natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina have spawned an understanding of the immediacy of news and information.
It won’t take long to find a tweet giving people a chance to list their needs. These needs are being met swiftly by throngs of volunteers, who also have mobilized on social networks, according to NBC News.
These sites also have seen many people “mark they’re safe” or let their families know they’re alive. Police and other first responders have used social media platforms to release news and weather trackers have up-to-the-second updates.
Snapchat has been a place for photos of the scope of damage from the storm. A new feature that pinpoints users also has helped aid in rescue and accounting for whereabouts.
Experts such as Matherly pointed out that social media has shown the best in people. She told NBC News that it’s apparent thousands of people want to help and thousands more will due to the expanse of social networks.