Though Hurricane Sandy only physically battered the East Coast, the social media world was swirling with tips and updates before and during the storm. Government agencies, news stations and relief organizations used social media platforms like Twitter to relay this crucial and even life-saving information to those affected by the storm. As the storm wracked the coast, these agencies fought against the traffic that was sending social media into a storm and produced meaningful information that made a positive impact.
The American Red Cross played an instrumental role in this natural disaster, as they administered essential information and advice for those in the trenches as the storm hit the shore. The American Red Cross is an organization committed to aiding those going through the aftermath of disasters. However, they were also instrumental in disseminating information quickly and effectively before and during the storm. The Red Cross Twitter account used the trending topic #Sandy to post tips about finding shelters, preparing for the storm, and even a mobile application to help in the event of a hurricane. They also advocated for blood and money donations during and after the storm to help relief efforts. Three months later, the American Red Cross continues to work with families and update their publics about the relief efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
During the hurricane efforts, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie put himself on the map as a great leader of his tattered state. His Twitter account became the proving grounds as he became the voice of reason and hope for his publics. Throughout storm preparations, Christie posted advice about keeping safe and the most effective routes to use as the state began evacuating families. As a man representing his state, Christie became both a strong voice and a source of hope for the people of New Jersey, promising strength and powerful leadership through the duration of the disaster. Twitter allowed Christie to reach out to the New Jersey people and make that two-way communication possible in a time when New Jersey residents needed a helping hand. By being human over digital media, Christie emerged as a prominent political figure and effective leader through the hurricane.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency used Twitter to do what was most necessary during this disaster; to disseminate information quickly and efficiently. FEMA posted information almost every five minutes on topics ranging from disaster shelter locations to places to find pizza when food was scarce. They also became a platform to share information from the American Red Cross, who worked together to spread as much essential information as possible. As an organization responsible for helping others and responding in America’s time of need, FEMA used this social media tool to its advantage and effectively helped those who were suffering during Hurricane Sandy.