The transfer of information and news via social media outlets is one of the most influential and widespread means of communication in the world today. Technological advancements have allowed us to have nearly effortless access to social media sites, at any given time or place.

With outlets such as Facebook and Twitter leading the market, the prevalence of social media can be seen almost everywhere we go. This prevalence becomes even more convincing when looking at the statistics of Facebook alone:

  • There are more than 500 million active users.
  • Users spend over 700 billion minutes per month on Facebook.
  • More than 30 billion pieces of content (web links, news stories, blog posts, photos, etc.) are shared each month.
  • Over 250 million active users are currently accessing Facebook through their mobile devices.
  • Mobile users are more than twice as active on Facebook as non-mobile users.

Social Media and Disaster Response

This daily abundance of access to social media sites has sparked an interest amongst many in how these outlets can be used for more than just social entertainment. The crisis management field, in particular, has taken note to the advantages of using social media in disaster situations. Social media outlets exhibit a feed of information in which responders can pinpoint, to the minute, what exactly happened in the crisis. This information is received through firsthand accounts which allow for a real-time assessment of the disaster, and can be particularly helpful in locating victims or determining their needs.

Using social media sites to disseminate information during a crisis is extremely beneficial in both responding to these disasters and to the recovery process.

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