hurricane sandy & the power of social media
Social media is great for stalking exes from college, posting sepia tone pictures of your dinner & giving play by play feelings on your favorite tv show (#homeland).
But it’s also an important way messages are distributed during disasters and times of stress. And this was apparent yesterday and today during Hurricane Sandy.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock (or maybe on the West Coast), you know that Hurricane Sandy pummeled the East Coast yesterday and today with insane wind, lots and lots of rain, & waves that destroyed much of the shore of the Carolinas, NJ and flooded the streets of NYC.
And my guess is you got a lot of that information via social media.
The power of the instantaneous nature of social media is imperative in times of a disaster. Sure, you can turn on the news and have CNN.com pulled up on your laptop, but to get whats happening in real time all you had to go was go to Twitter.
People were updating on the status of the storm in their area, warning about flooded streets and dangerous areas, telling their friends and families that they were heading to a friend’s house, that the power had gone out and that they were safe.
News broke via Twitter before it broke on the mainstream media. It was an important way to inform a large audience about the storm and keep in touch with loved ones. #sandy was the best way to get up to the second information that reporters couldn’t get yet.
Not only was it used on a personal level, but a large-scale disaster awareness and political level as well.
Governors used their Twitter handles to spread important updates. Transit systems tweeted out closures and where to go for more information. Pictures of the devastation were posted with warnings to stay inside.
The importance of social media in disasters is overwhelming. Personally, I barely turned on the news. Between Twitter and weather.com, I had all the information I needed. When I did turn on the TV or visit a news site online, what they were saying was “old” to me. I had seen it via social media first.
This all ladders up to the overarching theme we’ve seen over the last few years - everyday citizens are turning into reporters. They see and report on news using social media before the camera crews can get there. They keep people updated with photos, videos and information at the click of a “post” or “tweet” button. CNN and other outlets rely in their “i-reporters” for the latest information that they republished with their news.
And the last two days proved without a shadow of a doubt how important these mediums are to everyone affected by disasters.
Don’t forget to do your part. Help out and donate now.
[images via cnn.com]
why social media is here to stay
I saw a blog post on Twitter today titled “Why Social Media will Disappear.” Obviously I clicked and reading through the article, I’m still trying to piece together how this says it will disappear. To me, it reads like a case to DO social media except call it all “media.”
But I digress.
Social media is here to stay and if you’re a smart marketer, you need to get involved. And here’s why:
- It’s always evolving. One of the best parts about social media platforms is that they are built to evolve and transform into what users want. If there is a cry for more data, more pictures, more information, better interfaces, the platforms (generally) respond, upgrade and give users what they are seeking. This ability to evolve overtime and become evenmoreuser friendly and providemoreof what we want means people will keep coming back.
- But it’s not about the platform, it’s about engagement. Content is king, it’s a two-way dialogue, it’s about conversation, insert whatever cliche social media jargon you want here. If you’re good at doing social media the platform doesn’t matter. If there is a mass migration away from Facebook (unlikely) to a new platform, the engagement strategies and basic rules will be the same. Social media marketers aren’t just experts on the backends of platforms, they’re experts in marketing using these platforms to achieve goals, which is part of a bigger strategy than whatever platforms are used.
- People are curious. If there’s anything social media has taught us it’s that in this day and age it’s all about us and it’s all about reality. Think of the number of reality shows blowing up ratings every week. The celebrities with millions and millions of social media followers. The people that post 8x a day on Facebook about what they’re eating. People love to share personal information with the world and they want to see other people’s information too. That desire to connect isn’t going anywhere.
- Direct Communication is here to stay.Call a consumer hotline? Send a letter to a company to complain? Cut out coupons from the newspaper? Sure, people still do these things. But it’s a lot easier to do it all online. Consumers are constantly giving feedback to companies and engaging with brands via social media. And once they have been given a direct line of communication without the hold music or 20 steps of automated instructions before a real person, there is no going back.
- It’s a part of day-to-day life. I struggle to think of someone in my life that doesn’t utilize some form of social media. Whether that’s for work or personal life, they are touching it in some way. Reading food blogs, commenting on restaurant websites or Facebook, searching Twitter for information. And the next generation of people to start working have grown up with social media as a natural part of life since they were pre-teens. It’s ingrained in us. It’s part of what we do. It’s part of who we are.
So while the nuances might change, the basics will stay the same.
And evolving to fit this new and always changing space will set you and your company apart from the pack.
the funny thing about social media
Is when you’re WORKING in social media it’s very easy for your personal social media sites to feel super left out.
I’m sorry, I’ve been the worst blogger ever getting this off the ground.
Promise I’ll try to be better.
That said, you should all check out this article from Fast Company on what successful people do with the first hour of their day.
Great advice and definitely some things I follow.
Health Datapalooza Recap
Last week, my team and I attended the Health Datapalooza in DC. The conference is designed to bring together people from all types of positions that are interested in utilizing health data to change healthcare.
The conference included a 1/2 day of keynote presentations and application demonstrations in the morning followed by several sessions to choose from in the afternoon. Sessions covered a variety of topics including consumer engagement, app design, data for businesses, food & health technology and more.
Overall, I thought that conference was well run and gave a lot of interesting information. The app demonstrations were particularly interesting to me since I saw a lot of overlays with the type of work I do and think a lot of apps could have social media tie ins. Some of my favorite apps that you can take a look at were:
I thought there was a missed opportunity when it came to social media discussion. There were only two presenters total for the entire conference that talked about how health data can be leveraged by the powers of social media. While application development is great, if no one knows the apps exist, they’re not going anywhere. In future conferences I’d like to see more of a discussion about how social media plays a pivotal role in the future of utilizing health data.
Oh, and Jon Bon Jovi was there. So that was awesome.