Social Media During Disasters

Social media has become a standard means of communication and connection in our everyday lives. It allows us to connect, build communities and band together for just about everything. This proved to be exceptionally true during Hurricane Harvey. This catastrophic storm decimated the Texas gulf coast from Corpus Christi to the Texas/Louisiana border. Houston became one of the hardest hit areas when the city and its surrounding areas were flooded with rainfall amounts ranging from twenty to fifty inches in just a few days, turning this city into an underwater nightmare. People were forced to evacuate their homes and be taken to safety in boats and helicopters. After the storm finally moved out and left a wake of destruction behind, and the cleanup had to begin. Homes were destroyed, lives were ruined and in some horrible situations – lost. But, in the midst of this, people from Houston as well as from all over the United States showed the spirit of compassion.

People took to the internet to arrange fundraisers and immediate assistance. They provided endless sources of information to begin the process and then they took to the streets to start. Groups of volunteers teamed up to begin the colossal task of demolition and rebuilding. From Dickinson to Cypress and many other cities, thousands of people worked to clear homes of the water and destroyed carpet, sheetrock and furniture.

Lindsey Meadows coordinated and led one such group. Her team of 170 volunteers banded together and cleaned 210 houses between August 30th and September 4th as well as providing supplies and food for all of them. This was just one of the many groups of Houstonians stepping up to take care of their own. Many of these rescues and cleanup crews were organized through the use of social media. People took to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as well as many other sites to help guide each other to the launch areas and to keep everyone organized. This use of current technology and social media will become a standard method during and after disasters. Virtual personnel will become a part of the huge network that will continue to lead the way in disaster management. Real time communication will allow rescuers and first responders to do their jobs faster and social media will keep everyone informed with personal accounts in ways that were not possible twenty years ago. This connection also helps bring relief efforts into place much quicker.

Lindsey was able to use her virtual skills that she has honed through running three virtual businesses to coordinate and manage a large crew in a disaster area. She was able to direct the teams to the areas that needed them, arrange for supplies and food to be delivered and keep everyone connected. Her knowledge of social media and virtual human resources gave her the insight on the most effective means of communication as well as leadership skills to manage a large team. She was also able to confidently walk away from the day to day tasks of her businesses with no advanced notice and did not lose any work productivity during her absence. She knew that her well trained and experienced virtual team of virtuals at Meadows Resources had the tools, experience and drive to keep things going smoothly. This efficiency and experience held things together in an emergency situation showcases what Meadows Resources offers daily for their clients. #IAMVIRTUAL

Hurricane Harvey will go down in history as one of the costliest disasters in history both in physical destruction and sadly in cost of lives. But it will also stand as a shining example of human kindness and perseverance in the face of horrible catastrophe. We will always have the images of people working together during rescues and rebuilding. We will also have new ways of connecting and coordinating the efforts.

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