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#Sandy: Climate Disasters in the Age of Social Media
Posted on December 5th 2012
Hurricane Sandy was the largest Atlantic storm in history. At its peak it was over 1100 miles wide with winds up to 110 mph. Nine countries were hit by it and half of the states in the US, with a domestic cost greater than $65 billion. At least 250 people died, millions of people were left without power, running water, and more.
During the days immediately leading up to and following the storm, 20 million tweets about Sandy were also sent out, and more than 800,000 photos were tagged with Sandy on Instagram. News outlets everywhere were using social media to turn the millions of storm survivors into instant citizen journalists.
And they weren’t the only ones: Con Edison, The City of New York, and other governmental and public utility organizations were using Twitter to reach out to their constituents and keep them informed of evacuation plans and storm updates. With Hurricane Sandy, social media further cemented itself as an indispensable source during times of mass crisis.
After the storm passed, questions about its cause and even how future, worse storms might be avoided came up. Climate change, an issue that had been politically undesirable to address, suddenly got thrown back into sharp relief once the immediate impact could be felt so severely. And just as social media helped share knowledge about Sandy, it also helped disseminate and foster the discussion on climate change.
Many questions remain though: How can social media be leveraged to increase its usefulness in times of crises? What impact is social media having on how we learn and engage with these natural disasters? How can social media affect the public policy discussion around climate change?
Please join us on Monday, 12/10 at 1:00 PM EST/10:00 AM PST at our free webinar: "#Sandy: Climate Disasters in the Age of Social Media." We'll address these questions and more in a panel with Scott Dodd, Journalist and Editor of OnEarth.org and Michael Leuthner, Digital & Social Media Director, The Climate Reality Project, moderated by Marc Gunther, journalist and consultant in business and sustainability and contributing editor at FORTUNE magazine.