How Disasters Have Expanded the Use of Social Media

 

Before writing this blog, the writer, Morgan Anderson, would like to extend her deepest condolences to the victims and families of those affected by this national tragedy. For the privacy of the victims, names have been omitted.

By Morgan Anderson

On October 1, at 10:08 p.m. local time shots rang out at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas. The current total of those injured as of Monday, October 2 at 2:00 p.m. is 515 people injured and 58 deceased. CNN has said, “By the time [James] Paddock was dead, it was the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history.”

After the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, social media was flooded with information ranging from trying to find any connections to terrorist groups to videos of the tragedy taking place.  One group of videos with the hashtag #prayforlasvegas has been shared over 55,000 times on Facebook, and contains graphic video of the shooting, including victims lying down on their stomachs screaming with their necks covered.

On Twitter, tweets are going viral for those looking for loved ones at the concert. Multiple tweets have been issued out by the Las Vegas Police Department on how to find loved ones who were at the concert.

On Snapchat, their news account, “Discover,” has released the snapchat stories of individuals at the concert in a video labeled “Las Vegas Shooting.” This video also had pop-up facts about what happened during each snap. The user-submitted snapchats were edited and compiled by Snapchat, and then released.

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This is not the first time that Twitter has expanded its use to help those in need. During Hurricane Harvey, Irma, Jose, Katia and Maria,  Twitter  was used as a way for people to contact local police and volunteers to get to safety when emergency lines were overflowing.

During times of panic and terror, people turn to social media now more than ever.  Twitter gives users the ability to contact anyone, anywhere and get a direct answer quickly.  Facebook gives us the ability to connect with family and friends from all over the world. Snapchat gives us the ability to talk to friends and have fun doing it.

These three social media accounts provide the world a new way to deal with disaster. From natural to horrific, social media has grown through the worst events in this century.

I wish I could tell you how hard it was to write this blog. I should never have to write a blog titled “How Disasters Have Expanded the Use of Social Media.” I shouldn’t have to write about how hurricanes and mass shootings have evolved social media, or how instead of calling 9-1-1 because the line is full, they move to Twitter and Facebook begging for help from others.

The truth is, 58 families lost a loved one. Over 20,000 people who attended this concert had their lives changed, and not for the better, and more people know about it because of social media.

 

Innovative PR extends our deepest condolences to the victims, their family and friends, and everyone impacted by this horrific tragedy.

 

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