Gustav as a social networking lesson

I have spent the last hour navigating the Web looking for “on the ground” blog reporting about Gustav. And I have to say a whole world has opened to me…the social networking aspects of a disaster. By social networking I don’t mean the silliness that surrounds most of the social scene online. I mean true social networks of people who are trying to help others stay informed–about themselves personally for families and friends around the country, about the news overall (what’s really happening versus what the suits on TV are saying), and just the community-building that is happening online.

It’s an amazing lesson in an area of communication that has always fascinated me: crisis/disaster communications. I think there is a great lesson to be learned here for people who specialize in this area of communications.

Some of my findings:

While people say that perhaps New Orleans should not exist because of these storms, the fact is that we all are at risk of some kind of disaster or another–storms, fires, tsunamis, etc. What makes those of us in earthquake country unique is that we have NO WARNING. 

These sites are being set up–hurriedly, of course–in anticipation of the storm hitting landfall. But in an earthquake, it’s all done after the fact. I wonder what opportunities there are to setting up a network in ADVANCE…so you are not scrambling in the chaos after an earthquake just to establish a communication infrastructure.

Something to think about.

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