Social media


The emergency notification is in social media’s strongest allies. Because in this way you can reach a good number of people with very low costs.

But above all, you can take advantage of the network, that of ordinary citizens. 

Journalism from the bottom ( citizen journalism ) has already harnessed the power of social media in emergency communications. Here is a list of a series of examples that KissAnime Has Made in which social media get involve the citizen during particular situations such as riots, earthquakes, tsunamis, riots, and disasters.

The topics of the post

  • Haiti earthquake
  • Revolt in Egypt
  • Earthquake in Chile
  • Revolution in Libya
  • Earthquake in Japan

Haiti earthquake

Fate persists against those populations who need serenity. This is what I thought when I heard the news of the earthquake that hit Haiti several years ago. The humanitarian aid machine was immediately set in motion, bringing support and relief to the population. And the world of Social Media has also made its contribution.


Twitter is one of the main channels of solidarity and communication regarding disasters. On Twitter Search, you can take a look at the number of conversations dedicated to the disaster, while on PicFog a photoshoot has been set up (the first photos on Twitter of the incident were shared by @CarelPedre).

The Twitter blog indicates the main associations to which it is possible to donate sums of money and the respective social channels to follow their work. Among these, I remember the accounts @redcross, @wyclef, @oxfam, and the CNN list.

There was also news that can help survivors of the earthquake in Japan. And that shows how important emergency communication is.

2:46 Quakebook is a young blogger’s idea. This is a project that brings together Twitter users and, through this channel, collects the thoughts of the network. And he encloses them in a book. The proceeds will be donated to the Red Cross.

Facebook and emergency communication

A myriad of groups and Fan Pages devote their efforts to helping survivors. Among these, I remember MSNB, a virtual bulletin board for those who are in Haiti and want to let people know they are fine, Oxfam America, Partners in Health, and American Red Cross.

For the occasion, Facebook announced the birth of the Global Relief Page, a project dedicated to non-governmental organizations as well as to ordinary citizens who want to bring together all those who want to help  (and above all want to “learn” to help) others during disasters like this one. of Haiti. 


The most widespread microblogging platform on the web has created a special page, accessible by clicking on a small ribbon located in the dashboard, thanks to which it is possible to donate to the American Red Cross, AmeriCares Help For Haiti, Doctors Without Borders, and at Unicef. Once you’ve contributed, you can show everyone on your Tumblr how generous you’ve been.


The flow of amateur and non-amateur videos that tell a thousand stories of Haiti is remarkable, but Youtube has selected some material to entice the public to help people in need. In particular, you can find the call to action of the ubiquitous (fortunately) American Red Cross and  Oxfam  (to follow).

precise update of the folder dedicated to Haiti on CitizenTube, a space dedicated to videos uploaded by ordinary citizens, has been ensured.

Emergency communication on Google

Well … let’s say that Google should not be included in the Social Media entry, but the commitment with which it has published a post-donation form for those wishing to contribute to the expenses that the various associations will have to bear is remarkable.

An even more complete page indicates the amount that Google has donated to help relief, namely a million dollars, news updates, and images of the tormented Port-au-Prince seen from the satellite thanks to Google Earth.

Hope140 and emergency communication

On TechCrunch, I read that Twitter has implemented its humanitarian work with a web project dedicated to individuals and non-profit organizations who wish to help the people of Haiti. The portal is called, and it is a hope.

The page starts with a collection of Twitter accounts of associations to which they can directly pay their financial aid and of people who are in real contact with the places of the earthquake (for example @craigkielburger @HaitiRecovery @redcross).

Below is a window dedicated to real-time updates of Twitter conversations relating to the nefarious event. Much emphasis is given to the small guide dedicated to non-profit organizations, and above all to those who wish to improve their help activities with the viral potential of Twitter.

Revolt in Egypt

Surely you have read something about the popular uprising in Egypt challenging the regime of President Mubarak. A flood of people has invaded the squares of Cairo and guess what are the means used by the movements to organize everything?

It is not the first time that social media becomes the communication channel par excellence when the people decide to rebel and fight the wall of censorship imposed by undemocratic regimes (just remember the role that Iran played).

The hashtag # jan25 was spread on Twitter to identify all the messages of the protest, on Facebook Mohamed ElBaradei, former director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, supported the demonstrations, and also on Youtube and Flickr the Egyptian uprising has made itself felt.

Then Facebook started to malfunction and Twitter became inaccessible: someone rightly thought of Vodafone Egypt which immediately denies it through the Twitter channel. And an explanation of what happened has not yet arrived.

Flickr and Youtube proved to be excellent channels for documenting the succession of events, as well as the well-known hashtags #egypt and # jan25 on Twitter.

Maybe you need some Twitter trends to understand the extent of the phenomenon. As you can see from these graphs I got by analyzing the TweetVolume and Trendistic data in the last week # jan28 is also taking up space.

Other news from the social world comes from Twitpic that collects images sent via Twitter (even if the problems continue to the network). Tumblr has grouped all the images, notes, videos, and posts with the tag #egypt,  and some Chinese microblogging platforms have censored searches related to the word “Egypt”.

Google had remained a bit out of the game between social media and the Egyptian revolution, but here I read very interesting news from the Google blog. It is speak-to-tweet, a project that sees  Google collaborate with Twitter and Say Now to create a system capable of overcoming the problem of connection in fits and starts.

Speak-to-tweet allows you to launch tweets simply by calling one of the international numbers indicated in the article. The voice message will be transformed into an audio file on Say Now (which among other things has been acquired by Google a few days ago) reachable with a URL that you will find on the profile @ speak2tweet with the hashtag #egypt. The audio file is loaded on a player and just press play to listen to it.

Earthquake in Chile

The earthquake that devastated Chile is only the latest of the great disasters that are affecting every corner of the earth. And social media have made their contribution.

A contribution that is not limited to simple (but can we talk about simplicity?) Information on the facts, but which also moves in the direction of concrete support for people who have suffered enormous damage.


As is often the case in these cases, Twitter becomes the main channel for conversations relating to big events (positive and negative). In particular, this tragic episode confirms the great usefulness of #hashtags and Twitter Lists, respectively the most used keywords and the contact lists they deal with:

  • #EarthquakeEnChile
  • #chilequake
  • Fox News List

Another parallel between the Haiti and Chile earthquakes concerns the numerous photos that have crossed the Twitpic content platform.


The SERP with the query “chile quake” is all a continuous evolution, starting from the window dedicated to tweets that I have frozen and reported in the previous image. The most important element regarding the relationship between Google and the Chile disaster, however, is not just about the search engine results.

Mountain View has set up a Support Disaster Relief in Chile page that brings together the main information channels, a detailed map of the main affected, and a search engine for those who want to know about missing persons.

Other channels for emergency communication

The flow of images from Flickr and videos from Youtube tell the drama of the situation but no official channel relating to other social media has opened.

Revolution in Libya

Sometimes you don’t need many words to describe what passes before your eyes. And to tell the fall of the Gaddafi regime in Libya? 140 jokes are enough, those that can enter the Twitter tweets!

To stay informed on the fall of Tripoli, there are the updates of Repubblica and Corriere. If you want a summary of what goes on the net here you can find the tweets.

To follow the updates of the revolution in Libya on Twitter, just take a look at the hashtags Libya, Gaddafi, and Tripoli, while Google has already changed the name of the Green Square: now it is called Piazza Dei Martiri!

Earthquake in Japan

An earthquake that reaches 8.9 on the Richter scale, a tsunami that sows death and destruction, the fear of radiation, the powerlessness of a nation.

The latest news on the earthquake in Japan arrives in all media, breaks the normal television schedules, and dominates the front pages of online newspapers. And also this time the voice of Social Media has made itself heard!

Flickr, Picasa and Youtube

One of the main sources of videos is Youtube Citizentube while on Flickr (which has also published a post on the subject) just search the most recent results with the keywords ” japan earthquake ” to get numerous results.

Also on Picasa, the convenient system for organizing photographic material, Google has created an album that compares the Japanese territory before and after the earthquake. See, for example, these pictures of Yuriage and Yagawahama.


Once again Google gives a hand in emergencies by opening its Crisis Response page to the Japanese emergency. Here you can find all the useful information to ask or give information on the missing, stay informed about the alarms, the weather situation, and transport.

Speaking of maps. Google’s is certainly the most used but they are not the only ones. For example, there is that of Esri (above) which allows you to select all the geolocated Social Media in the menu alongside, including tweets and Youtube videos.

Emergency communication on Twitter

Communication through Twitter (it is appropriate to say) flies especially in the case of events and disasters of this kind. Then all to follow the most used hashtags such as #prayforjapan, #japan, #j_j_helpme, and #tsunami.

Also, note the presence of an unusual #tokyodisney to indicate the news relating to the many people trapped in the amusement parks of the metropolis.


To follow the news coming through Tumblr, the most famous microblogging service on the web, just do a little search by tag. For accuracy, we can use Japan Tsunami and Japan Earthquake.

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