Tech Talk: Social media and Sandy

A massive Red Cross relief operation is underway in the U.S. with more than 2,300 highly trained Red Cross disaster volunteers working around the clock in communities affected by Hurricane Sandy. A contingent of Canadian support is also being deployed to New York City to help work in shelters there. Last night, the Red Cross provided a safe place to stay for 9,000 people in 171 shelters across 13 states, including New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

While the Red Cross operation is in full swing on the ground, the American Red Cross Digital Disaster Operations Centre powered by Dell – also known as the DigiDOC - is also supporting relief efforts. Working with a team of digital volunteers, the Red Cross is engaging through social media with hundreds of people affected by the storm.

Through the DigiDOC, the Red Cross has tracked more than 765,000 mentions and conversations in social networks such as Twitter and Facebook. This word cloud gives you an idea of some of the key words that are being shared online involving Sandy.

Digital volunteers are able to take action to help many of those in need by providing them with key information on how to be prepared for the storm, what to do when the power goes out and where to find shelter.

Here's a sample:

The digital team got a boost yesterday from President Barack Obama who visited Red Cross headquarters to thank Red Crossers for their efforts. President Obama got to see the DigiDoc in action and also took the time to send a tweet out to help.

Here are links to more information on how social media is being used to share information about Sandy:

Download the American Red Cross Hurricane App

The Disaster Newsroom

Photos from the American Red Cross on Flickr 

Hurricane Sandy, the Tweeting Hurricane on the Sysomos blog

Round-up of Social Media and Sandy links from Patrice Cloutier

Watch out for fake photos online

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