Three Social Media Tools Recommended to Fast Forward Disaster Relief


Expanding reach with technology

In the first of a two-part post about using social media tools, I gave an illustration of how these tools empowered our small community of people to quickly and efficiently come to the aid of tornado victims in Alabama. In this second part of the post, I’ll look at what we would do differently in the future.

Better Next Time

This disaster relief project was a big success, and the knowledge we gained will allow us to do an even better job next time. Not that we wish for another disaster, but we’ll be better prepared when it happens. 


For one thing, we’d post videos about the project on YouTube. These videos, unlike media newscasts, would be under our complete control, so we could present our message accurately and persuasively without having to rely on the media to communicate key information. We’d be able to show volunteers dropping off donations, team members loading the truck, and people in the disaster area receiving relief.

Just imagine how much these videos would increase excitement and involvement! Videos of donations being distributed in the disaster area surely would provide a sense of unity and satisfaction to all who participated. Links to these videos could be provided on our website, our Facebook page, and through QR codes on printed materials.


Next time we’d add Twitter to our toolkit. Twitter is a micro-blogging service that enables users to send and read text-based posts of up to 140 characters, better known as “tweets.” The character limit, which was designed for compatibility with short message services (SMS) messaging, spawned the shorthand notation and slang commonly used in SMS messages. Users can tweet via their smartphones or SMS and on the Twitter website. ,.

Think of Twitter as a “digital billboard” displayed in real time with drip-like updates. Although tweets are publicly visible by default, senders can restrict message delivery to their “followers.” Users can “follow” other users by subscribing to their tweets.

One of the cool features of Twitter is a “Hashtag” – it allows Twitter to be used for direct communication among social groups and organizations. Anyone can create a hashtag simply by prefixing a word with the hash symbol #. For example, for our next campaign we could establish one or more hashtags, such as #tornadorelief or #ALNeeds, and let people know about them via our website, posters, and other means. When they searched on these tags, they would be connected to a string of the most current information. It would be another way, in addition to Facebook and our website, for people to learn about our needs.

What a Relief!

Utilizing a blend of the new social media tools and traditional media, our community was able to provide substantial disaster relief to the hurting citizens of another community quickly, efficiently, and economically. The experience we gained will enable us to utilize social media even more effectively in response to future needs. And perhaps this blog will help you better understand how to harness the power of the new social media tools to accomplish your personal and professional goals.


Posted by Louise Goodman on 03-05-2012 in Marketing, Technology