The social networking scene isn't just about telling friends and family what you ate for lunch, it can also prove vital in emergency situations. To wit, microblogging service Twitter
stood strong during Hurricane Sandy's brutal run across the Eastern U.S. Seaboard and delivered over 20 million tweets related to the storm between Saturday and Thursday, the company stated on its own Twitter account.
In addition, Twitter said mobile usage from people in New York City peaked on October 29, 2012 around 9:00 PM (about the same time the city lost power), more than doubling usage from the previous two days. Between October 27 and October 30, Tweets mentioning the Red Cross increased 30 times, the microblogging service said. The world "donate" reached a 180-day peak, and the phrase "donate blood" reached a 365-day peak.
Among other things, Twitter is actively trying to set itself up as an emergency resource. The service posted an extensive list of Twitter accounts to follow from states most affected by the storm, noting that in the event of a power and/or Internet outage, users can still receive alerts through text messaging (SMS).
"Even if you don't have a Twitter account, you can receive Tweets from any Twitter user directly to your mobile device," Twitter explained in a blog post. "Just text 'follow [username] to 40404 if you are in the U.S. For example, to follow FEMA (@fema), text 'Follow fema' to 40404. Text notifications work with every major operator in the U.S."
Hurricane Sandy left a path of destruction in its wake, including dozens of deaths. It left millions of homes and businesses without power, disrupted cable and broadband service, and knocked out cell phone towers
in 10 states. In addition to Twitter's efforts, Google launched a Crisis Map
that allowed users to track the storm in real time.