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.

The Verizon iPhone: Will it be worth it?

There is plenty of buzz around the web about the announcement of the iPhone coming to Verizon. Along with those articles are numerous predictions of the immediate demise of AT&T at the hands of Verizon. Everyone, me included, has been rather impatiently waiting for the day when we would have an iPhone alternative to AT&T’s horrible network. Well that time is now, and I find myself asking whether my immediate departure from my current plan is the best solution.

I have been reading up on this whole Verizon iPhone and the best article I’ve seen so far was on Mashable called “Why the Verizon iPhone Doesn’t Spell Distaster For AT&T”, by Ben Parr. It outlined the several reasons why switching to Verizon, while most likely the best option, should be considered more carefully. He pointed out that there are several factors that you might want to consider before making the switch. First, Apple has increased their early termination fee to try to dissuade customers from jumping ship early. Second, the iPhone that you have now will not work on Verizon’s network; so you will need to buy a new one. Third, Verizon may have better coverage, but they have a much slower 3G network, so you won’t have all of the capabilities that your iPhone does now. Finally, when has Apple ever launched something that hasn’t had major problems at the beginning?

I was reading through this article on my iPhone, and wondering if there were a more logical alternative for this problem. Is it wise to switch immediately out of spite for the network that has let me down so many times? Or would it be a better idea to wait for Verizon to catch up with their technology and work out the kinks with Apple? It’s definitely something I would recommend you think about before you make the switch.

Of course, as I was reading this article, and thinking about this decision, my iPhone lost service and kicked me off the web… maybe it’s not quite as tough a decision as I thought.