What I learned this summer about the use of social media during a crisis

I’m a big social media user. Facebook, Twitter, Google +, Tumblr — name a networking site and I either have it or have heard of it. Social networking sites, as we’ve discovered in recent years, do much more than keep us in touch with old friends. They can, and have, become forums for people in various situations, from protesters in Egypt to reporters covering a jury verdict in a high-profile trial. But I didn’t really understand social media’s full power until this summer, when a massive wild land fire threatened Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico.

People from all over New Mexico, and the United States for that matter, started tweeting and updating their Facebook status reports to share information about the fire and its fallout, including attempting to find hotel rooms and homes for total strangers — the Los Alamos residents who were evacuated from their residences. It was amazing watching the online community come together. Here’s a story I did on the social media aspect of the Las Conchas fire in New Mexico. Hope you enjoy.

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