Social Media is More Than Idle Chatter

Feb 2011

You’ve seen the television commercial where the man is tweeting, “I’m having a bagel”?    That spot is funny and accurate in so many ways.  However, social media can also be a catalyst for change and a real life saver.

Christchurch Earthquake

Christchurch, New Zealand was struck by a massive earthquake.  As of this writing at least 75 have died and many more are missing.  One way that rescuers know where to dig for survivors is due to their text messages. The people who are trapped are using a combination of taps, in addition to SMS messages to direct the rescuers up top.

Google is also helping out with their new Person Finder software. It was developed after the Haiti earthquake with the assistance of the U.S. Department of State to help catalogue people that are missing.  The software has been used in earthquakes in Chile and China as well.

Twitter instead of 911?

An Atlanta city councilman, Kwanza Hall, used twitter instead of 411 in order to get help for a woman who was suffering from a seizure.    The cell phone battery for Mr. Hall was running low and he didn’t want to get held up on 411 or have his phone run out of juice.  Paramedics did arrive in time to treat the woman.

Broken neck in the middle of a forest

Ouch.  A woman was cycling in the middle of a 300 acre forest and went flying over her handlebars.  She was unable to walk and knew that she was all alone.  To make matters worse, there wasn’t a cell phone close enough to call 911, but she did have enough signal left to send a tweet.

She sent out one tweet and at least six people called the local medics, who were on the scene within minutes.

Sure elements of social media are just fun little toys that we use in life, but sometimes they can really help us out.  Do you have a story where a social media platform has gotten you out of a jam?

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