SOCIAL MEDIA COULD SAVE YOUR LIFE
Guest Blog Post By Alex Villalba
In the recent wake of the traumatic Hurricane Harvey, many people and businesses are still trying to recover what they lost and salvage their former lives.
But amidst this climatic chaos ordinary heroes and brave Samaritans from all around have arisen, risking their very lives and sacrificing days and weeks of their own time to help the many victims in need.
Why, in a nation so divided by iniquity, social strife, and political turmoil did so many people rise up to lend a hand?
Because in that time of crisis we were all connected.
Nature favors no religion and no economic status when it rears its ugly head.
…. and so, for once in a long time, the world put aside its petty problems to see the big picture.
The entire nation, perhaps even the entire world, was watching, listening and talking about the immense crisis on the Texas coast.
But there was no turning the other way or changing the channel to avoid this disaster. Instead, individuals, businesses and organizations from Texas and beyond gathered all their resources and opened their doors to anyone affected by Hurricane Harvey.
People from across the nation rallied together to help Texas recover from the decimating storm, including churches, charities, stores, restaurants and even celebrities.
Where did these businesses and organizations go to promote their cause?
To the newspapers?
U.S. Adults Are Getting Their News Through Social Media!!
— Keith Keller (@KeithKeller) September 13, 2017
The majority of these benevolent souls took straight to social media to increase awareness and encourage participation, creating Facebook events, using geotags and taking full advantage of the almighty hashtag the entire time.
Indeed, in the wake of this horrific storm we have learned one indisputable fact:
Social Media Could Save Your Life!!
We’ve come a long way from receiving our news from someone screaming headlines in the street.
Most people across the world don’t even subscribe to a print newspaper or local magazine.
Instead, today’s culture relies on the vast, omnipresent network of contacts of social media to keep them informed and up to date on current events.
Why wait for the newspaper to drop on your doorstep when you can open Twitter and read the millions of articles, announcements and tweets posted every second of every day.
How did this online presence help in a time of crisis?
Once Harvey hit the Gulf Coast, No one could ignore the endless barrage of tweets, videos, articles, pictures and Facebook posts urging people to help Houston and surrounding areas.
Instagram users in Istanbul knew what was happening in Houston while Tweeters in Texas were posting #Houstonflood and #TexasStrong all day long.
Every local event on Facebook turned into a Hurricane Harvey relief cause, from breweries to bars and everywhere in between.
From beginning to end, the entire state of Texas stepped up to show their support.
Houston’s own Mattress Mack opened up his megastores to the hundreds of victims and soldiers in need of shelter.
Which of course went viral all over social media, mosques became beacons of hope for the recently homeless and reputable organizations like Salvation Army, Central Texas Food Bank, Samaritan’s Purse, Texas Coast Guard and Red Cross stood at the front line of relief.
Even Amazon set up a special relief fund on its website for anyone who wanted to donate to the victims of Hurricane Harvey.
But the help didn’t stop there!!
Thousands of good, regular people from across the state trekked through murky waters and searched for hours to find and rescue anyone they could in Houston during the flood.
These weren’t soldiers, or firemen - although they, as always, have offered unwavering help and support.
These were average people who donated and aided from nothing but the kindness of their hearts.
…. and thanks to Facebook, Twitter & Instagram, everyone in the world knew about it!!
Hundreds of videos of brave people in their own fishing boats floating through miles of flooded neighborhoods and fetching abandoned pets and stranded victims from out of the water were posted on social media, showing the world what a true Texan and a true American looks like.
These are the people we read about in the news and see on Twitter who didn’t need to be asked or told, who wasn’t paid to go out into the floods but instead felt compelled to help.
I, myself, did my part to help by promoting and reposting Hurricane Harvey relief events on social media as well as writing a special article feature for seemefeedmereadme.com on places locals could go to support hurricane relief.
— Keith Keller (@KeithKeller) September 14, 2017
Rising To The Challenge!!
Another story of recent heroics comes from the popular flight giants Southwest Airlines, who recently made special alterations to their interior cabins in order to accommodate and fly hundreds of displaced pets from Houston to California where they could find new homes.
Lucky for us, they tweeted adorable, heart-melting pictures about it the entire trip - which, let’s be honest, made us adore Southwest even more!
Pet shelters and companies in Houston used their social media influence to advertise to anyone interested in adopting a Houston pet, offering to pay for all their adoption fees and even the trip home.
While big rigs and semi trucks tweeted viral pictures and posts on their long drives across Texas to supply desperately needed resources to their Gulf Coast neighbors.
Everywhere you look on social media, people are coming together
Flood victims looking for help, no matter where they are, can get on Twitter and Facebook to find help. While volunteers, organizations, and businesses can communicate to the masses on social media to let anyone in need to know where they can find assistance.
Although this storm has been an almost irreparable disaster filled with tragedy, casualties, and losses, we can’t help but think that it could – and would – have been so much worse if not for the immense support displayed on social media.
The powerful networking tools provided by Twitter, Facebook, and other online outlets have given individuals and groups of all statuses in all places the chance to connect, influence, and provide support wherever they can in whatever form they can.
In the end, social media may be frivolous at times, but - as recent events have demonstrated.
It can also be an extremely valuable instrument in increasing awareness and effecting great progress.
MEET ALEX VILLALBA
Alex Villalba is a Digital Marketing strategist and lifestyle blogger for SeeMeFeedMeReadMe, a fun Austin based blog exploring food, drink, art, culture and everything in between.