Facebook is currently testing its new Disaster Message Board in Japan which enables people to mark themselves as “Safe” with a click of a button.
Living, as I do, on top of active faults, a major natural disaster – be it an earthquake, tsunami, or both – is never far from my mind and it’s only a matter of time before we’re hit with “the big one.” Indeed, when there’s blasting going on at a nearby quarry, I feel the strong urge to duck and cover. As a parent, I can’t help but worry about what would happen if there was a major earthquake whilst my son was in school or at a friend’s house. How would I know he was safe? This concern is even greater as there is no cell phone service where I live.
But even if there was phone service working – landline or cellular – it might not be reliable. Oftentimes after a major disaster, phone lines are “clogged,” whereas the internet is more stable. For this reason, it’s always a good idea to have other disaster and emergency preparedness plans in place. Murray Hill and Bruno Marsala created a blog post together – called Disaster in Canada – how tech can help – which is definitely worth a read: they provide a wealth of information and resources on everything from how social media can help during a disaster to technology and services that can help you prepare for the worst.
Social media has already been credited for saving lives after major disasters, such was the case mentioned by Hill in the post linked to above:
I first read a story written by Doug Lacombe, president of Communicatto, when he wrote about how the use of social media had actually helped save the life of a Canadian trapped in rubble in Haiti. Lacombe is a Canadian social media expert who speaks widely on the various applications of social media. His story relates how Facebook was used to help find a and rescue a Canadian trapped in the rubble of his hotel from 3000 km away.
Facebook is now testing a new feature, a Disaster Message Board, which will enable people to click on a “SAFE” button just as easily as if you were to “Like” something on the social network site. Currently being tested in Japan (link is only accessible from there), if there’s a disaster in your area, you’ll see a notification above your news feed where you can mark yourself as safe. You will also have the option to mark a friend as being safe and provide comments on how they’re doing. Katz Ueno, editor-in-chief and producer of YokosoNews, has published some screenshots of the new Disaster Message Board, which you can check out here.
Sync readers, should a major disaster happen where you live, do you feel prepared? Have you taken any actions to ensure you’re as ready as you can be? And what are your thoughts on utilizing social media during these difficult times? Leave a comment to share your thoughts!
[Source: Techland, TIME.com]