Last week the eastern seaboard received a bit of Mother Nature’s wrath. An unusual 5.8 earthquake set off a series of aftershocks that continue to shake parts of Virginia. As the social media buzz began to die down, Hurricane Irene set us in her sights and bore down.
Having read the news boards about how serious the storm may be, I immediately went in search of a way to help. I was determined that if I could not find a site that was dedicated to assisting those in the storm’s path I would create one myself. Checking Facebook for Hurricane Irene keywords, I quickly found Hurricane Irene 2011 Animal Rescue Resource Page. A quick searched showed me that Admin, Kelly Allen, was in one of the areas expected to be hardest hit by Irene, Virginia Beach. I swiftly “Liked” the page and began reading. I did so with a sense of warmth. I am not sure I would have been thinking this way if my home lay in Irene’s path, but Kelly certainly did.
With just over 100 fans I noticed there was a request from Kelly for Admins. She was not sure how long she would be safe, keep power, and be able to post on site. She requested help with administration, and five others and I dove on in.
Breaking News on Hurricane Irene’s Animal Resource Page
Within 24 hours of logging on as an administrator, the page had over 1000 fans. As Kelly and the other admins worked tirelessly to provide breaking news, updates about accommodations for those with pets, and storm preparedness tips that covered the human and animal spectrums, many visitors from all over the world began to comment.
From South Africa, we show our support for your page….you are all in our thoughts & we hope that both humans & animals will be safe during this time…
From Germany´s Animal-rescuer´s : Our Thoughts are with you, we pray for you and your Animals.
Thanks from Portugal !
Thanks from Barcelona !
Thank you ALL! Love from Belgium♥
Currently the Animal Rescue Resource page has 8,643 fans.
In the Storm’s Path
As the posting and cross posting continued, many more became involved, even Robb Ellis, a meteorologist from Wilmington, North Carolina, an area often hard hit by East Coast hurricanes. He began to chime in to help share communications with those worried about their loved ones in the path of Irene. Inspired by the devastation of Hurricane Hugo as a young boy, he has certainly proved his dedication to meteorology, as well as to socially networking any and all information that could provide comfort to those in Wilmington, as well as many others scattered along the Eastern Seaboard.
Why Social Media?
What makes people turn to social media outlets so fast these days? Most likely, the instantaneous connection, quick replies, and social comfort that can be provided when the ground shakes or high winds threaten to destroy those things we have come to know as part of our lives, our families, and our homes.
I just wanted to thank you VERY much for all the information and updates you’ve been providing. Honestly, you have been extremely helpful, and more useful than any television resource, that’s for sure.
Perhaps a lofty comment, as most of the information we aggregated came from the many available news sources, and those on the ground making efforts to share like Robb Ellis did. However, the feeling behind the comment is the same for all involved, social media works for sharing laughs, breaking news events, and much needed comfort that we all search for when our world appears to have gone crazy.
I have no doubt that the comments left on our page did much to encourage us to keep on keeping on, even after Irene had passed our own homes by. It was not just us though. Thanks to the many rescues that kept us up-to-date on how they were doing in their specific coastal areas.
- Thousands of horses in Irene’s path were helped by the efforts of the Horse Evacuations East page. Even a potential scam was likely diverted when they noticed and posted suspicious trailers headed into storm zones without the proper identification.
- Hurricane Irene: Lost & Found Pets have already reunited pet owners with animals that went missing during the storm.
- Shelters in and around Irene’s path such as Eagle’s Den Rescue and Rocky Mount North Carolina Animal Friends have also been greatly served by the social networking efforts of all of the volunteers who took the time to simply care.
Do you have a story about how social media may have helped you during nature’s spectacle on the east coast this past week? Please take the time to share with us!
About Joy Lynskey
Full-Time Freelance Writer and Content Manager for Puglisi Consulting Group, Joy Lynskey specializes in Technology, SEM, SMM, and other elements of Digital Marketing.