Earthquakes, Hurricanes & Social Media… Oh my!

Damage @ Washington's National Cathedral

Ask anyone in between Atlanta and Boston and they can tell you exactly where they were at when that 5.8 quake shook on Tuesday. I happened to be cleaning a BBQ grill on the deck, but didn’t feel anything in Northwest NJ. My wife on the other hand was on the 32nd floor of her a midtown Manhattan office building when she felt the tremor.

For friends and family out West — this was no big deal — but for just about everyone on this coast, we don’t do earthquakes, we’ll take NorEasters, and big snowstorms. But shaking from below just isn’t in our corporate DNA.

I was amazed how many people communicated via social media to update loved ones. When cell phones didn’t work, social media did. I heard from my sister in Richmond, my niece in DC & my meteorologist-nephew at Penn State — all were fine.

Even for seasoned news professionals like my friend Carleth Keys of NY1 Noticias, it made for an interesting broadcast day… here’s what she put on her Facebook page:

NY1 Noticias' Carleth Keys Photo: NY1 Noticias

Carleth Keys
I was taking a press conference live, when I saw the studio lights shaking over my head… A second of silence… Then I saw people in the live video feed running for their lives and I realized it was an earthquake… I went on with my report with the lights still shaking…

WNBC's Brian Thompson

Other Journalists used Twitter to acquire video for their stories like WNBC reporter Brian Thompson: @Brian4NYAnyone have video of earthquake shaking? Maybe office surveillance video? Pls DM me.

I have been using social media to track Hurricane Irene’s progress for the past few days. Especially, as it first approached Puerto Rico & the US Virgin Islands and now as it appears to be heading towards the MidAtlantic coast. I’ll be tweeting, RT, and posting updates too. Join me on Twitter @MalaveMedia & Malave Media on Facebook.

Courtesy: The Weather Channel/Weather.com

Also, here are some links for interesting articles on Natural Disasters & Social Media:

From the Poynter Institute: The Earthquake on Social Networks

From the Daily Beast’s Howard Kurtz: Washington’s Earthquake Farce

From FEMA:  Hurricanes & Earthquakes

From the IRS: Keeping your financial documents safe

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