Why Social Media Is the Front Line of Disaster Response

An infographic from Hurricane Sandy, but equally relevant in the aftermath of the Oklahoma tornado yesterday.

By Zoe Fox from Mashable.com:

Nearly one million people are affected by natural disasters each year. In the U.S. alone, some 400 people die from disasters that cost the economy $17.6 billion. Helping respond to these cataclysmic events, social media is now a go-to tool for those effected by disasters.

One in five Americans has used an emergency app. Of those Americans effected by natural disasters, 76% used social media to contact friends and family; 37% of used social media to help find shelter and supplies; and 24% used social media to let loved ones know they’re safe.

SEE ALSO: 13 Gadgets to Prepare You for a Natural Disaster

This infographic, created by our friends at USF’s Online MPA, details how social media has revolutionized communications during natural disasters.

At the bottom of the infographic, you’ll find a FEMA tweet sent during Hurrcane Sandy, which exemplifies why social media is becoming the best way to spread information during dangerous events: Phone lines can get congested, so updating social networks can be the ideal way to let loved ones know you’re okay.

Homepage image courtesy of iStockphoto, Krakozawr

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