Social media vs. 911

Social media is taking the world by storm. The influence is so prominent that it is reported that people are now using social media during emergencies. We have noticed lately that social media has been used in national and international crisis in the past few years, such as the political hubbub in Egypt, but people are actually using it to inform their social networking site viewers of personal emergencies.

A few years ago, two girls found themselves trapped in a storm water drain used their phone to inform Facebook of their emergency rather calling 911. This was somewhat ridiculous to authorities at the time, but researchers have found that social media can play a large role in emergency response. A recent survey shows that almost half of respondents said they would use social media to inform relatives and friends that they are okay in the event of some sort of disaster. The survey also reported that 69% of respondents think that emergency response agencies should monitor their social media sites to respond promptly to people in trouble. CDC Emergency and the American Red Cross are the top emergency agencies on Twitter; this allows them to quickly respond to people in need.

I think that the idea of using social media in emergency situations is an interesting topic, although there are both pros and cons. Because it is so easy to post on Facebook and Twitter, it’s more likely that people will abuse the sites. It also seems that the younger generations are more likely to update their Facebook and Twitter, so most of  the population of the older generations will not be taking part in this. On the other hand, people are constantly on social media sites from dawn until dusk, and it would take 2 seconds for anyone to receive word of an emergency, and in turn, attempt to help the person(s) in need. Facebook and Twitter sites take just seconds to update it is proven that these social media sites have actually helped in emergency situations. Let’s not get rid of 911 just yet though.

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