The recent winter storm in the northeast caused more than a thick covering of snow. It resulted in a slew of conversations blanketing the social web.
The reason? First, there was the unlikely event of a major snowstorm in October. Rarely do Halloween decorations, pumpkins and mums need to nestle in snow piles in Connecticut. Moreover, the heavy, wet snow weighed on trees still dressed in colorful leaves. The result was down trees – many on power lines – leaving hundreds of thousands of Connecticut residents in the dark, including myself. The storm was so determintal that as of this morning, a week later, over 200,000 people are still without power.
While there have been plenty of helpful news stories on TV, radio and newspaper, the timing of this information is in the hands of the media. They control when they share, what they share and how they share it. Social media, on the other hand, is serving as an open, ongoing forum for connecting. News updates, opinions, emotions, questions and discussions flourish on the social web, enabling people to get information they need in real time on their terms. It’s no wonder this perfect storm caused this social media monsoon.
How the Utility used Social Media
The Connecticut electric company worked tirelessly to restore power and utilized social media to keep customers in the know. Whether it was news, engagement or tips, it was constant.
How the Public used Social Media
The conversations and the emotions were across the board. Surprise for the unexpected snowstorm, excitement for the snow, fear of power outages, anger, frustration, sympathy, hope and camaraderie were just some of the feelings behind the tweets and Facebook posts over the past week.
But in all hard situations, people come together. Here are my top uses of social media from the public.
Offering to help one another.
Public figures delivering information to their town and the positive energy that comes from it.
Capturing the damage with Instagram (by ericathas
). Despite the result of this down tree, it looks so serene!
Creating a website
just for the storm…in a very unique way.
Let’s talk about this one. While I’d give it a PG-13 rating for language, it’s actually using real data to determine a Connecticut town’s power outage status. It also has helpful tips. Notice the 2,000 likes for this week-old site.
No matter if you’re working for a business or using social for personal means, it can serve as a place to connect and get information. It’s constant and increasingly, people are flocking here for answers.
Have you used social media for any storms in your area? How has it helped you? Share your thoughts!