I was quite disappointed while watching the destruction on television in the newsroom — because of the damage and injuries that were taking place, of course. But also from the lack of detailed reports and locations on where exactly these storms were hitting.
James Spann is amazing, after all. Just not THAT amazing.
I typed the names of the already-reported troubled towns into a Twitter search. I quickly found out more than I expected.
The amount of detail reported by people was unreal. In some cases, you could pretty much pinpoint the path of the storm.
All of this from 140 character messages.
I pulled up Google Maps and followed some of the reported coordinates. A few people had posted latitude and longitude numbers in areas of high damage.
This could be critical in saving the lives of people during devastation.
The result has made me want to try a little experiment the next time severe weather breaks out.
I want to set up a Google Map that pulls coordinates from Twitter. Basically, the script would put a dot on the location of the Tweeter, and you could read their message by hovering over it.
I feel it could be an incredible way of immediately knowing the spots that need aid.
It would be instant. No waiting around for someone to gather information and plot the data.
I’m sure emergency management personnel would be hesitant to use such information for their services. It is the Internet, after all.
Still, this could be the future of immediate storm recovery. Another amazing use of social media.
Twitter quickly became the biggest relief effort in the state following the April 27 devastation.
Thousands of users expressed their desire to help those impacted by the damage. Item lists and location drop-offs filled tweets for days.
This helped to save a ton of phone calls from people wondering where they needed to take supplies. The time that would have been spent answering those calls instead went toward more important efforts.
It’s amazing how much power a 140-character message can bring to the table. Especially when multiple short messages can bring the past, present and future together so well.
I’m sure Twitter picked up some new fans in the state of Alabama on April 27.
It could be one of them who provides the important updates during the next big storm.