by Greg Crandell
When the Virginia Tech shooting occurred on April 16, 2007, the news was hard to follow. At least, at first. CNN responded with scant reports and hard-to-follow coverage. Numbers were varied, details were scarce. But then something happened that changed the face of news forever: the witnesses started making the news itself (click here).
Cut to today, where Web 2.0 is a crucial ingredient in a disaster preparedness package. How do you quickly reach your customer base/ employees and let them know what's happening and what they can expect?
Many companies rely on e-mail messages, which replaced faulty phone trees and made it possible to know all the details without having to rely on a trickle-down system of information sharing that might dilute the message. Others still are relying on text messages that put all the necessary information in the hands of the people that really need to know.
But new innovations bring new solutions. Twitter, a messaging service we've spent some time talking about (read Rob's old post here), has become a crucial tool in getting the word out about emergencies. Want proof? The Los Angeles Fire Department created their own Twitter page to let people know about fire emergencies in the Los Angeles area. You can view it here.
The list goes on: Flickr hosts photos from late-breaking events that can be found with tags and keywords. Facebook groups are a meeting point for like-minded people and, in times of trouble, are one of the best ways to get word to those who need it (read more here). New technology online means new ways of getting a message to its target - which, in some cases, means keeping people alive.