Disasters Spark Need for Social Media

Remembering 9/11 victims today.

There are lots of touching photos and articles about people at the memorials this morning — you’ve probably seen them already, so I won’t add all of the links here.

I do want to point out an interesting blog post, though. Check out 9-11 and the social software movement for an interesting perspective on how the experience of 9-11 affected our use of social software like blogs and Twitter.

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As we mark the 7th anniversary of 9-11, folks here in Texas and along the Gulf Coast are distracted by the need to prepare for Hurricane Ike. To see some of the conversations happening, go to http://search.twitter.com and type in Ike.

While I started using Twitter recently as a virtual breakroom, I’ve been using it over the last 48 hours to get updates about the storm.

From reporters (@TrackingIke@chronhurricane, and @dfw_ike) to the Red Cross (@RedCross), Home Depot (@TheHomeDepot), and local residents, the news on Twitter is breaking in real time — long before it will be available from traditional media outlets, and there’s a virtual community springing up around the event.

It’s a bit like watching history in progress. And it’s also becoming increasingly clear that tools like Twitter will play an important role in disaster communications going forward. I hope more organizations and government entities catch on soon.

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Are you using Twitter or other tools to keep track of urgent news? If so, who do you follow?

[Hat tip to social media expert @chrisbrogan for tweeting about the social software article.]

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