The internet is a powerful tool. So powerful in fact that it has become the go to system during catastrophic moments around the globe. The article published on Wired.com talks about how social media is used by survivors and first responders after a crisis and how it is becoming the job of Aid providers and countries to learn to use their system, not the other way around.
In the article FEMA chief Craig Fugate goes around to various social media headquarters to do an in depth analysis of how those systems (Facebook, Twitter) remain open during these moments of intense use. He also wants to understand the patterns in which people communicate and why they do so. He wants to understand the cascade of followers. WIth this information FEMA believes they can better aid people after disasters, and I agree. By learning how to use the most useful tools available is the best way for companies like FEMA, and even governments, to maximize their outreach to citizens after a disaster. It does not matter how effective a warning is if no one is looking at it, and we know now that when a crisis happens, people look online. Twitter and Facebook can report the news faster than anything else on the planet right now, and companies such as FEMA are beginning to harness that. The power of information cascades is that once the primary source of information is located, all others must conform to it or settle becoming a niche product.
Unfortunately, we cannot afford for any Governmental agency or aid providing corporation to be out of the loop.