Social network lifeline – is twitter the new S.O.S?

  • Recently, social networks have featured prominently in events of social disturbance, such as the Egyptian protests and the London riots, as effective means of quickly organising mass gatherings.
  • In the US, the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response wants to harness the rapid messaging capacity of social networks to improve the preparedness of individuals when disaster strikes.
  • They have observed that the ability of individuals to cope and recover from a disaster depends upon their social connections. Tools facilitating these connections should therefore improve community resilience by enabling individuals to create their own emergency support networks.

Recent events typify the challenges governments face in the presence of new technologies. Rather than limit their use, Government should exploit their potential to improve communication especially during disasters such as flooding or animal disease.

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