I ran across an article today on National Geographic’s website that discusses how social media is being used in the relief efforts in the Philippines after a recent typhoon. A researcher, Patrick Meier, has created a website that sorts through tweets, uploaded pictures, and other social media data and then displays the information on satellite maps providing a location for each piece of data. The purpose is essentially to assist relief crews in finding areas that need help. The relief crews would look at the photos and tweets to determine the damage or danger that is present in various areas and proceed from there.
I think this is a really cool concept, and an example of social media being used for a good cause. However, I could potentially see problems if the website data is not accurate, or if people do not have location enabled devices. The article states that “Filipinos are avid and sophisticated social media users, which means that the social media content posted online during disasters tends to be rich and useful.” I definitely am interested to see how effective this is, and if it could potentially be helpful in future disasters.
Here is the full article: