This week’s spate of bad weather — the upcoming Hurricane Irene and the Virginia earthquake — made one thing even more crystal clear: People are turning to traditional news sources less and less for information. Instead of flocking to the Weather Channel to see how a storm progresses, people are logging onto social media sites and getting up-to-the second news. (A new American Red Cross survey also shows more people use social media in emergencies.)
“Social media is becoming an integral part of disaster response,” Wendy Harman, director of social strategy for the American Red Cross, told Healthcare IT News.
Twitter and Facebook both had huge increases in traffic after this week’s earthquake. Twitter reported that within a minute of the earthquake, there were more than 40,000 related tweets. Our sister site, All Facebook, documented the reaction on Facebook.
But those are the typical social media sites to tune into. Here are a couple more you should consider checking out.
BreakingNews, an MSNBC.com property, boils down verified updates from various news sites, wire services and social networks, so you can log into one site and see what other, more traditional (or not so traditional) news organizations are reporting.
The site is already incredibly popular. Just moments after the 5.8 magnitude earthquake in Virginia, the site hit an all-time record for simultaneous visits. Earthquake tweets on @breakingnews were retweeted approximately 8,000 times over a two-hour period.
“Users can watch as updates stream in — only what’s new, moments after it happens, verified by our real-time editors,” said Cory Bergman, the news site’s director. “In an increasingly cluttered world where rumors gain momentum through social media, I think that speed, simplicity and trustworthiness draw people to BreakingNews.com.”
Similar to BreakingNews, Storyful also aggregates different sources but then uses that information to make a new story. The site combines video, tweets, pictures and more for a comprehensive, up-to-the minute depiction of what is happening.
The site also breaks down it’s sources in a clearly defined box to the right of the story. That’s a great way for people to directly see what, for example, the American Red Cross is tweeting. Visit its Hurricane Irene story page.
These are only two suggestions. What other sites or networks do you go to during bad weather?