• Kathryn Watson

How Social Has Changed How We Handle Disaster?


Most of us have heard the term "sharing is caring." It can be applied to anything in life. Whether a child sharing their toys or someone sharing the food they have.

As I write this blog post Houston is experiencing one of the most devastating disasters in it's History. Hurricane Harvey is ravaging the homes and businesses in our fine city.

Thousands have already been displaced losing homes, businesses, cars and more. Through it all we see untold numbers of people opening their arms to welcome others into their homes to share what they have.

And So We Share

We are sharing our heartaches and our triumphs on social media. We are sharing hope and caring. And we are sharing information. Where to get help? What is happening? Are our loved ones safe?

Growing up in Hurricane country I have seen my share of storms. As a child, we used to have to wait days to hear from loved ones to know if they were okay. I remember that my mother would be sick with worry.

The television would go out and if we were lucky we may still have a radio to listen to and get information.

Enter The Age Of Technology

Now, not only can we keep in close and constant contact, we can help even if we are far away.

When Marla reached out via Facebook that she needed a boat to evacuate she was immediately given contact information for several groups who could help. Help was just a click away.

Along Comes The Ugly

Unfortunately with the good also comes the ugly. Well meaning people were posting criticism of how Houstonian's handled the storm. Some suggesting that we were all idiots to have not evacuated.

The people posting and sharing these opinions had no understanding of the real situation. If they had they would have understood why it was virtually impossible to evacuate a city of 6.5 million people.

This is a time to keep your opinions to yourself. As my mother always said "if you don't have something nice to say, keep your mouth shut!"

Other posts circulated that had no basis in fact. They did nothing more that to fuel fear and anger. Sharing is caring when what you are sharing is helpful. Remember before you share - THINK

Embracing Facebook

Through it all a lot of people who never had much use for and didn't understand Facebook found the value in social media.

Knowing that the Cajun Navy was on the way to rescue people and how to contact them was extremely helpful. Hearing that groups were coming from Dallas, Austin and San Antonio gave people hope.

Furthermore, Facebook was used to enlist people who had boats and trucks that could handle high water to rescue those stranded in their homes and on rooftops. Just knowing that Aunt Susie or your sister Ida was safe gave so many people peace of mind.

I think many people are understanding the value that Facebook can bring in a disaster. Bringing people closer together and helping neighbors to help one another is what "social" is all about.

Kathryn Watson is a Social Media Strategist. Her focus is on Content Creation, Facebook and LinkedIn Strategy, Training and Coaching.

Schedule a complimentary 30 minute consultation with Kathryn to see how she can help your business.


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