28 Jul '11, 1pm

Facebook & Twitter help speed up response to national disasters & emergencies

Facebook and Twitter are helping to improve and speed up responses to natural disasters and health emergencies by involving members of the public, it has been claimed. Social media allowed an "unprecedented" two-way exchange of information between the public and those given the task of preparing for and responding to major events such as earthquakes, floods and infection pandemics, said researchers. "By sharing images, texting and tweeting, the public is already becoming part of a large response network, rather than remaining mere bystanders or casualties," said the US team led by Dr Raina Merchant, an emergency medicine expert from the University of Pennsylvania. Writing in the New England Journal of Medicine, the authors say harnessing social media could help emergencies to be handled in a "quicker, more co-ordinated, effective way". The technology allowed officials to "...

Full article: http://www.todayonline.com/TechandDigital/Digital/EDC1107...

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