Cell phone service. We take it for granted until there is an emergency and we can’t text or call our loved ones. This is what happened to me and thousands of others after Tuesday’s earthquake. A Linkedin post by Bill Leachman from the Linked Locals Adams York group aptly describes how many were feeling:
“…my daughter was at home and she was scared to death. With the cell phones being down, she was not able to get in touch with me for about an hour, until she was able to get in touch with me at my office. My father could not get in touch with me, either. He lives in Louisiana and he wanted to know how we were doing. I can understand how difficult and helpless someone must feel because they can not get in contact with a loved one.”
The good news is social media platforms and their smartphone applications provide a much needed safety net.
My 13 year old niece lives in VA and as soon as I heard about the 5.8 earthquake I tried to text her. Fail. I tried to call her. Fail. Then, I started to worry. It took me a few seconds to remember she (like many teenage girls) loves Facebook. I visited her profile and was happy to see her status update which read, “Earthquake!!!!!” She and her friends were commenting on it, stream of consciousness style. It was a relief to know she was O.K. Consider downloading Facebook’s app for Android or iPhone if you’re connected to loved ones on Facebook.
Google+ gets a win
One half hour after the quake I was scheduled to make a 45 minute drive. I was a little nervous because I’m used to the comfort of cell phone service when on the road. Thankfully, my Google+ phone application saved the day. One of its best features is speed; messaging through Google+ is practically instantaneous and it was a relief to be able to communicate quickly and easily. Consider joining Google+ when it’s out of beta. Their smartphone application is amazing.
Social media for emergencies
With hurricane Irene on the way, I’m grateful for social media platforms and their accompanying smartphone applications. Emergencies look less threatening to me when I can stay in contact with family and friends. Has social media ever helped you in an emergency? If so, please tell your story here so we can all learn from your experience.
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