Relief Groups Spread the Word About Using Social Media During a Crisis

Have you heard?! A storm’s a-comin’! Up and down the East Coast, folks are buying up water and batteries and going to their mom’s house to hide under the covers in their old bedrooms in preparation for Hurricane Irene. The latest natural disaster caps off a week that also included a freak earthquake and the capture and death of a giant mutant rat that may be just one of a new species aiming to wipe us out by Halloween.

In the meantime, we have social media. The Red Cross issued a press release this week with results from surveys it conducted finding that more people are using Facebook and Twitter in emergency situations. Many say they’re using social media to gather information and share news of their safety with loved ones.

That seems to be true today, with Twitter, Facebook, blogs, and all other sorts of media chock-full of Irene information.

ComputerWorld reports that government agencies are using their Twitter accounts to share data. And PCWorld offers a (somewhat obvious) list of sources for Irene information. Honestly, if you click on “Hurricane Irene” under the Top Stories in Google News, you’ll get a ton of information.

MSNBC provides a handy infographic of the Red Cross findings. And Mobiledia has a recap of a Facebook streaming event with reps from American Red Cross, National Weather Service, and the Department of Health and Human Services talking about the uses for social media in an emergency, and their plans for a text messaging service to make communication easier.

[Image via Gawker]