Social media are forms of information and communication technology disseminated through social interaction. Social media rely on peer-to- peer networks that are collaborative, decentralized, and community driven.
In recent years, social media has emerged as a popular medium for providing new sources of information and rapid communications, particularly during natural disasters.
With the disasters around the world becoming a frequent phenomenon, the world is witnessing the increasing role of social medial during times of disaster management. It has become a vital tool aiding government and other rescue agencies to jump into action to much exact locations, disseminating information to wider audience, know ground reality and so on.
The Social role of social media in disaster times:
Rescue: During Uttarakhand disaster, WhatsApp is used by stranded people to locate a spot.
Rehabilitation: During Chennai floods 2015, social media played a major role in disseminating information like boat vehicle availability (Ola boat)
Relief: Mapping in Facebook about lack of medicines, food and this helps in NGO and public spirited individual to supply relief materials
The benefits accrued by social media can be enumerated as:
- Helps in fast broadcasting the information/ ground realities to wider audience without waiting for news or government agencies
- Enable 2-way interaction between various victims and rescuing team or
- The tracking of affected people become easy and quick due to tracking facility available to social media tools
- Helps raising relief material and money by easy collaboration with
- Make relief operations more effective and timely
- Helps in alerting authorities during onset of calamity thus aiding in taking preventive measures
- Data collection and updating alerts and notifications become easy
Disaster management is the one, which plans to reduce the vulnerability and impact of disaster. Social media is a tool which can reach millions with in a second, helps both before and after disaster occurs.
Thus, Social media enables to quick response and rescue measures and helps in adapting to vulnerable situation.