We can talk a lot about how bad social media can be, our addiction to it, and how it seems to take over every part of our lives. However, social media can be there to helps us when disaster or tragedy strikes.
Mother Nature or other Disasters are all scary. With the help of social media, we are able to learn more about what is happening and where. It is able to alert those people living in affected areas faster now thanks to social media and technology. One great example of this was The Tornado that hit Ottawa. I was in downtown Ottawa when my phone went off. Tornado warning!!! I quickly looked at my phone, looked around me and went on with my business. I mean, really a Tornado in Ottawa?! After dropping my daughter off at her curling practice, I headed to our hotel. The sky was a funny, warm yellow colour and the wind and rain had picked up. Still nothing triggered for me. Naïve? Maybe. As we looked out our window to the building across from us, I noticed people on their balconies taking pictures and videos, but we couldn’t see anything out of the ordinary. Being from the country, I thought to myself, funny city folks, taking pictures of wind and rain. We left the hotel, had dinner, and went to pick up our daughter from curling and that’s when we figured it out. All of a sudden, my phone went crazy with incoming emails and text messages about the Tornado that had hit Ottawa. Facebook lit up, with pictures of the damage, areas that were affected and who needed the most help. As a result of this information, within minutes, local businesses were responding by offering shelter and delivering free food where it was needed most. It seemed so surreal.
We have all watched on TV or Facebook when these disasters hits. We watch social media postings for The Red Cross so we can text donations or await the “gofundme” pages so we can do our part and feel that we are helping as much as we can.
Although we sometimes feel that technology and social media are taking over our lives and personalities there is an up side. In times of trouble or disaster, using social media allows us to reach out a helping hand, and lets us feel we are contributing to our community, family or friends.
We all have a family member, or a friend who was just given a horrible diagnosis. It’s heartbreaking. They feel very alone and vulnerable. They look for support, anywhere they can. With social media, they have that. With the touch of a button, they can turn to a family member, friends and even strangers for support. With “gofundme” pages to help a family in need in our local area, our donations make a difference and are sent quickly and effortlessly. Consequently, we feel we are supporting our communities more than ever before.
Another example for us was when a friend’s farmhouse was inundated with bats. They had no idea there was a problem when they bought their dream county farmhouse. They turned to their insurance company for resolution, but it was unwilling to help them. They were struggling under the debt it would cost to fix their home for their growing family. They turned to social media. Their “gofundme” page grew donations in a matter of hours, along with heartfelt messages of support which were posted with each donation. The local TV station learned about their story and broadcast it for all to see. This broadcast allowed so many more people to hear what they were going through. Amazingly, after the broadcast, their insurance called them for a meeting and after a few meetings changed their mind and decided to cover all the expenses it would cost them to build a safe new home. Thank you social media! Thank you local TV station, and Thank you local community! Their “gofundme” page returned all donations back to the people who contributed as the money was no longer needed. (Although this was incredible news for this family, it is noted that not all situations are this lucky).
Just when I think I would love to have grown up in a simpler time, with less stress, less technology and more time for my family, I am reminded how lucky we are to live in this age where we can do so much to make a difference in the world, at home, in our cities, towns and communities for our family, friends and neighbours. Has a similar situation ever happened to you? Have you personally ever reached out on social media for support or help? I’d love to hear from you and read your stories.
Facebook: Social Media to the rescue. Check out this blog to see how social media helps people in need. https://bit.ly/2P2a8ax
Twitter: Social Media to the Rescue! #socialmediahelp #community https://bit.ly/2P2a8ax