It's been quite a week. First, the Boston Marathon bombing, then the fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas and today, severe weather, tornadoes and floods across the US Midwest. In all of these events, social media is player a big role.
In Boston, the investigation is being crowdsourced with digital volunteers coordinating through Reddit and the FBI and law enforcement are counting on the millions of people armed with mobile devices that can be real-time sleuths and provide valuable tips. Here are the two suspects.
Here's an excellent summary of the many stories on the role of social media in the aftermath of the bombing.
As far as the severe weather outbreak ... crowdsourcing, social networks, mobile technologies are finding their expressions through some impressive crisis mapping. ESRI once again shows the way.
Finally, the gigantic explosion at the fertilizer plant in Texas, in the little town of West, some distance from Waco proved to be devastating. 35 or so deaths and many more are still missing ... the social convergence phenomenon (mobile tech + social networks) have given us one of the most poignant videos we've seen in a long time:
I observed some very interesting exchanges last night about the use of hashtags ( #) on Twitter about the explosion. Two sources/contacts on Twitter that I respect had opposing views on what principal location hashtag should be used.
The NYC ARECS (Amateur Radio Emergency Communication Network - @nycarecs on Twitter) was using and promoting the use of the #waco tag:
@nycarecs : Report: Every home within a four-block area of the fertilizer plant is gone. West, TX #waco 3 mins ago · more » · @GlobalRevLive : BREAKING ...
@nycarecs : USE #WACO AS A HASHTAG FOR [WEST, TEXAS] EXPLOSION. #
For some, closer to the action in Texas, this did not sit too well. There's a big difference,
between the little town of West and Waco. Michael Walter (@michaelmwalter on Twitter)
an SMEM enthusiast and PIO for the Office of Emergency Management in Houston pointed
that out to the New York ham radio crew.