Social Media can make a Disaster More “Real”

Social media is now to go to technology for people when they experience a disaster besides hopefully first using the “phone” part of their phone and calling emergency services and friends and family. People have a need to document nearly anything they find significant, interesting, and noteworthy even if it’s for personal reasons (everyone who has visited a famous landmark has taken a photo of it…it’s the rules) and a beneficial situation for our need for documenting our experiences is in disaster situations.

Take the Fort McMurray wildfire that occurred last year. There was many videos and photos uploaded and shared as the fire grew and burned through parts of that city. I remember being able to see live feeds from various websites and social media that would collect every bit of evidence whether it be photos, videos, social media posts, interview transcripts, and audio clips from radio broadcasts. Much of the evidence would be posted as soon as it was created and would be accessible nearly immediately from when it was recorded.

Not only was there a mountain of media available for everyone’s perusal but there were information resources that were being constantly being updated for the people affected by the wildfire and there were also many avenues made available to help aid those who needed help.

As long as people have access to social media and a device that can access it, every disaster is probably going to covered in the same amount of depth as in the Fort McMurray wildfire. The type of disaster can be natural of otherwise but the availability of evidence will be abundant and everyone with access to the internet can see for themselves accounts of that disaster. This availability can help spread awareness and help people become more engaged with the news, in a way social media not only connects people but can also make a disaster more real.


Fort McMurray wildfire: Shifting weather forces more evacuations


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