It feels horrible to talk about the importance of social-media-as-lifeline during natural disasters, especially as so many have lost everything and so many more are sitting in the darkened cold, lacking the most essential comforts such as food, heat, showers, and light. I’m certain that Facebook and Twitter are the least of the survivors’ worries. Yet here we are.
Many have said that social media covered Sandy in a way that had never been seen before. This of course is not true. September 11th started it and the presence of social media has been a constant from Katrina through the present day. What has changed is the number of broadcasters, content creators, syndicators, channels of distribution, and the sheer size of the audience, in both those directly affected by events and those watching from a distance.