- I would have been lost without social media this week, and I assume most of NYC would have been as well given the power outages.
--What would we have done without Twitter for a real-time news feed?
--Or Instagram to visually live through the mass destruction as it was occurring?
--Or Facebook which allowed us to be in constant real-time connection with family, friends and co-workers?
Let me highlight a few implications:
Can you imagine if we only had access to Bloomberg's press conferences on NY1?-1/2 the city didn't have power, no one would have saw them.
What if the only way Con Ed was able only to contact us was through the automated robot voice recordings on our cell phones? - 1/2 the city didn't have cell service and we would have never known when power was anticipated to be restored.
What if the only way the Red Cross and the 100+ local relief Orgs could only communicate with us via local TV and broadcast through mass press releases to news corps?- Limited reach and zero scalability would have taken a day to reach us, if we were lucky, and areas in need wouldn't have been adequately supported by the immediacy of local volunteer efforts.
The crazy thing is that this did all happen, on September 11, 2001. I still had a Nokia; texting wasn't even invented yet, there was no mobile email. There was NO, as what we know today, mobile at all, beyond a phone call.
It's 2012 now. I've been on the social soap box for ~5years now and I'm officially declaring a "not optional" stance, and will be deflecting use of terminology wrapped around a "specialty" type of communication. Time's up. You're no longer allowed to the play the "I dont understand the Twitter" card anymore. Especially if you work in a communications field. Hell, even if you don't. But if you're reading this- you probably do (except for my mom).
Still a skeptic? Rolling your eyes? Still pushing social aside b/c you're averse to change? Get on the bandwagon people, it's here to stay and it's made our world a better place. Here are some highlighted case studies from the last week's events that should finally shed some light on how the world communicates.
What would we have done without Twitter for a real-time news feed?
- Con Ed
God Bless Kate Frasca. Con Edison’s Twitter account, which has gone from 800 followers to more than 22,300 in less than a week, has made itself an indispensable resource for New Yorkers desperate to know when they expect a return to normalcy -- and powered, heated homes -- in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.
Frasca divides her time between Twitter and Facebook, but updates Twitter much more frequently, noting it’s more conducive to customers asking and answering individual questions. In the past week, @ConEdison has been mentioned 100 to 150 times a minute on Twitter, according to Frasca, who uses Radian6 and HootSuite to manage the company’s social media accounts.
By 6 p.m. on Saturday, @ConEdison had tweeted 109 times that day. Con Edison posted more tweets on Friday Nov. 2 -- 236 in total, according to Xefer.com -- than in the months of July, August and September combined.
Gotta hand to Bloomberg he kicked ass during the #Sandy aftermath. Well spoken, knew the facts inside and out and was always articulate with no a bullshit, yet empathetic approach to relaying the updates. If you check out the Twitter stats below for the last week you'll see how active they have been in communicating with the Public-- huge shout out to Rachel Haot the City's Chief Digital Officer who really is the success story behind NYC's connected social efforts. "We are sharing as much information as possible so [the open data community] can help disseminate it and apply it."
What would we have done without Instagram to visually live through the mass destruction as it was occurring?
- Do you know that before Sandy even made landfall on 10/29 at 5:40pm, Forbes reported that Hurricane Sandy was likely to be Instagram’s biggest event yet. There were 300,026 photos shared on the mobile app under #sandy- 183,003 under #hurricanesandy- 27,564 photos shared tagged #frankenstorm - 1,467 marked with #huricanesandy
Ten pictures a second were shared on Instagram during the storm, and plenty more have followed -- photos of packed gas stations, drowned cabs and New Yorkers fighting for a cellphone charge. I'm sure Instagram will report the total number of photos shared next week. Moments after the explosion at the ConEd plant rendered lower Manhattan into a blackout, my Instagram feed lit up with photos of the explosion itself, candles, and erie pictures of the black New York skyline.