How Social Media Became The Front Line of Disaster Response

News | 21st May

The Oklahoma tornado tore through the homes of thousands, its force felt by everyone in its path, but the social media force was felt by everyone on the planet.

Written by Kaye Neylon


Within moments of the Oklahoma tornado hitting the state, the hashtag #Oklahoma was beginning to trend worldwide. The social media impact of the Oklahoma tornado had begun.

Twitter became awash with desperate tweeters sending out 140-characters of heart felt gratitude for the safety of their loved ones and sending out messages of hope to those most affected by the horrific disaster, the worst the state has seen in over twenty years.

Social media took on a whole new persona in the wake of the two-mile wide tornado as Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Instagram all saw a surge of users posting their thoughts, prayers, images and videos of the event.

No one, could have predicted the force of trend and the meaning it took on as the hours past and any Oklahoma-related story began to trend and passed from tweeter to Pinner to Instagram-er and Facebooker.

Several Oklahoma social media campaigns launched as a means to reach out and help those victims who had lost homes and loved ones in the devastation.

Hashtags of varying Oklahoma relation accompanied terrifying videos as they went viral, and in the midst of this a Facebook group was set up to help reunite those with their belongings.

The group now has almost 9,000 members with dozens posting images of personal items that were blown away and retrieved in nearby gardens, many of which have been recognised and reunited with their rightful owner.

Although one unhappy dog is still waiting to be reunited with his owner as his furry face circulates Facebook thanks to one vet who picked him up and took him into cover.

Oklahoma dog

Disaster Response

It is believed that 76% of American’s use social media to contact family and friends to let them know they are safe or they need help, 1 in 5 use an emergency app via a smartphone and 37% use socia l media to find shelter and supplies for neighbouring help groups and charities.

These facts only exemplifies the fact that social media is used as a contact tool and goes back to basics when disaster strikes. Telephone lines easily become congested during times of crisis and so updating social profiles becomes an ideal way to let loved ones know you’re safe.

Most recently, Hurricane Sandy became the perfect example of social media used as a survival tool after phone lines were brought down and electricity cuts struck New York City and thousands turned to their mobile devices to tweet their family and friends.

Social media is used in every way possible, from assistant pleas for help, reuniting victims with loved ones and their belongings to raising money. Social media is the most effective and efficient method of managing disaster response.

How Social Media Manages Disaster Response

How Social Media Became The Front Line of Disaster Response

Social Media for the Greater Good

As a social media agency in Manchester, the hub of social media activity, we understand how vital a tool social media has become for both the general public and brands alike.

Social media serves its purpose as a tool to promote a brand and increase sales and leads, yet charities worldwide have invested time and effort into carving their own presence and serve as the great good for communicating their cause to the masses. For more information on how charities use social media, click here.

Need to use Social Media for your cause?

Our social media team support, manage and generate social media campaigns for brands of all shapes and sizes. For more information on how social media can be a benefit to your business, contact our socially savvy team today.


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