Thursday, October 23, 2014
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Social Media Lessons Learned During Hurricane Sandy

For those of you who don’t know me personally, I am a Jersey Shore resident, born and raised. My current home is a half mile from the Ocean and less than that from a river on the other side. I was very fortunate, my house and my family are fine. Many were not as fortunate, as I am sure you have been witnessing on all of the major television stations.

In addition to worrying about my family and friends during the hurricane and the week after, we were also working and worrying about our clients, most of whom were without power, phones, and internet. As it turned out, hurricane Sandy helped us demonstrate to all of our clients, how crucial their social media accounts had become.

When the students of Advantage Career Institute didn’t know whether school was on or off because they couldn’t call the school and no email was coming out, they went to ACI’s Facebook page and we were able to answer their questions and keep them informed.  When donors wanted to reach the FoodBank of Monmouth and Ocean County to help with food donations and couldn’t reach them by phone, they turned to the FoodBank’s Facebook page for answers and we were able to provide guidance on how they can help. When the Natural Healthcare Center in Long Branch wanted to let their patients know that the roof was repaired and the generator was on and the phones were back, once again it was Facebook that helped us communicate that. When Casa Giuseppe wanted their patrons to know that power had been restored and they would be serving dinner on Saturday night, Facebook and Twitter came to the rescue and their restaurant was full of happy diners on Saturday night.

When power lines were on the ground and no one had access to their laptops and PC’s, everyone turned to their smart phones and tablets. From these devices, Facebook was the go-to communication tool among friends, families and businesses. It was a hairy week for us, keeping in touch with our clients via spotty cell-phone service, but it also made us really appreciate what we do and the power of these communication tools that have become such a part of our lives.

How many of you have been using Social Media to keep up to date with loved ones, friends, customers impacted by the hurricane? I’d love to hear how.

 

About Deborah L Smith

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4 comments

  1. Great article, Deb! I live in Brick Township and found social media very useful in dealing with a 5 day power outage after Sandy and another 24 hour outage after the nor’easter. Brick has a great Facebook page and it was helpful to read comments from residents about the status of power restoration. We were out of town last weekend but knew in advance that our home would have electricity when we returned. Local governments on Facebook need to decide whether to allow people to post comments, and I think it’s really beneficial.

    Mike

  2. Thanks, Deborah for sharing the article, but more importantly for being there for us and our school during this challenging time. At Advantage Career Institute, we learned first hand just as you described, how key it was to be able to communicate with our students via FB. It is great to be working with you and Jon!

  3. Our cottage is 5 houses from the ocean and a block from a river and it, like yours Deb, was spared by Sandy but surrounded by destruction. We live and work up north during the week where we were surrounded by downed power lines and had no power for 11 days. Our smart phones and our car radio were our only connections to the outside world. We were able to stay in contact with business customers from elsewhere thanks to them. Savoring the Shore is the volunteer fundraise cookbook project that my daughter and I developed to pay it forward for Sandy recovery. It has been almost totally fueled by social media and features 150+ recipes, many from all star chefs from the shore or with NJ roots, whom we connected with via social media, especially Twitter and Facebook.

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