Avoiding Disaster with a Little Help from Your Friends
As a PR professional, I know better than to promote my clients’ technology on our own blog. But I might make an exception today based on the coverage of the disastrous flooding going on in the Midwest right now.
I ran across a blog this week talking about how The American Red Cross is now relying on various social media widgets to exchange vital information during natural disasters. Apparently these tools have been extremely helpful handling the flood crisis along the Mississippi River over the past few weeks. I’ll admit, sometimes I show my fair share of skepticism with certain social media applications, but this situation builds a strong case for why tools such as Twitter can provide serious value to the public.
I remember hearing about the wildfires in Southern California last fall from our client, First American. First American provides geospatial data to the insurance and re-insurance industry that helps insurers (and ultimately consumers) predict which geographic areas are at most risk for these types of disasters. As someone that has always been fascinated with the weather, I find geospatial technology to be especially interesting. Based on the work we have been doing for our client, we have been closely monitoring how natural disasters break in the news. And not surprisingly, seconds – as opposed to minutes - matter when these stories roll out – because they can help people avoid life-threatening situations. You often hear people talking about how social media keeps people connected, however as these natural disasters are showing, these tools have a lot more potential that people might not necessarily suspect.