25 years ago this past week I was living through Hurricane Andrew in Miami. 13 years ago this Labor Day weekend I was enduring the 2nd of 2 hurricanes, Jeanne (Frances came 2 weeks earlier) in Palm Bay, FL.
After Andrew, though by the grace of God my home and belongings were spared, I spent 2 weeks with no electricity. I depended on the radio and the newspaper for news. After Frances and Jeanne, I was only out of power for 3 days each. Probably because I lived near the hospital. Nevertheless, I lost all my refrigerated food twice and the whole area was depressed. That’s why I moved to Phoenix, AZ.
Watching Hurricane Harvey hit Southeast Texas this week was heart-wrenching. After each of the hurricanes that I lived through (6 in total), there was a strong sense of community and people helping people — strangers in need. However, a form of communication that was not around 13 years ago is social media.
Those of you who think social media is silly, this will change your minds.
One of the news videos highlighted #HarveySOS on Twitter. Using this hashtag, people in need of rescue posted their addresses and needs. Rescuers could then go find them in boats, helicopters or trucks to get them to safety and shelter.
When Harvey moved northeast toward Port Arthur, #PortArthur was trending on Twitter. Here’s what was there:
Notice how many retweets under each tweet. That’s the icon with the 2 arrows. Thousands of people retweeted these cries for help to their followers. Dozens responded — that’s the first icon with the bubble. Hundreds “liked” or saved them.
Wow. Think about the impact social media has made.
Now, we can watch as companies, organizations and charities use social media to raise funds, get donated items and help rebuild Texas.
It’s true that…
News no longer breaks, it tweets.
I hope this has convinced you to take Twitter seriously. Thank God for Twitter and social media.