Wednesday, March 10, 2010

How Communications is Saving Lives in Chile

"Urgent. In Constitucion an eight-year old boy named Ivan Lara showed up alone. He's looking for his family," read the tweet.

In earthquake torn Chile, there is one language that connects everyone, regardless of where they are from. Social networking is the lingua franca.

Your life might well have been saved if you were lucky enough to have had a BlackBerry or iPhone with you when the 8.3-magnitude quake struck. Twitter and Facebook have been critical resources for help: coordinating rescue for individuals buried in the rubble, finding food and water, and reuniting families and friends.

According to a recent article in USA TODAY , Chile ranks fourth worldwide in terms of social networking penetration among its home and work internet audience. While traditional media have focused on hard news, the piece said, Twitter, Facebook and some Google applications have been key for communicating locally about personal needs.

If we ever doubted the universal utility of social networking, this should put those doubts to rest. It’s not just about chat. It’s also about the instantaneous delivery of critically important information, which has enabled a quantum leap in personal safety.

Technorati Tags: Chile, earthquake, Ivan Lara,social networking, USA Today , communications, public relations, Makovsky


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