In light of current emergencies such as hurricanes and earthquakes, Americans are relying more and more on social media, mobile technology and online news outlets to learn about ongoing disasters, seek help and share information about their well-being after emergencies, according to two new surveys conducted by the American Red Cross.
The surveys, one by telephone of the general population and a second online survey, continue to show that the vast majority of Americans believe response organizations should be both monitoring social media during disasters and acting quickly to help.
Social media is becoming an integral part of disaster response,” said Wendy Harman, director of social strategy for the American Red Cross. “During the record-breaking 2011 spring storm season, people across America alerted the Red Cross to their needs via Facebook. We also used Twitter to connect to thousands of people seeking comfort, and safety information to help get them through the darkest hours of storms.
Key findings include
- Followed by television and local radio, the internet is the third most popular way for people to gather emergency information with 18 percent of both the general and the online population specifically using Facebook for that purpose
- Nearly a fourth (24 percent) of the general population and a third (31 percent) of the online population would use social media to let loved ones know they are safe;
- Four of five (80 percent) of the general and 69 percent of the online populations surveyed believe that national emergency response organizations should regularly monitor social media sites in order to respond promptly.
- For those who would post a request for help through social media, 39 percent of those polled online and 35 of those polled via telephone said they would expect help to arrive in less than one hour.
Visit the American Red Cross for the full report.
Source: American Red Cross