Adhoc social networks to assist during hurricane Sandy in NJ and lessons learned

An article published in the CNN.com website (http://www.cnn.com/2012/11/20/us/new-jersey-sandy-social-media/index.html?hpt=hp_c1) describes the use of facebook and street signs to create volunteer groups to assist people impacted by Hurricane Sandy. Providing food, cleaning supplies, clothing etc and helping clean out flood affected rooms is now coordinated using adhoc facebook and other social networks in addition to the formal FEMA support system. A key decision that impacted the greater need is the “keep ’em in their homes” strategy which requires existing homes to be made habitable before winter starts. Should such social media centered volunteer coordination be formally included in the FEMA coordination to speed up relief ? Will direct appeals by people with larger social networks (the article describes Nastia Liukin from the US gymnastics team asking her 190,000 followers to send food) increase the effectiveness of relief provision by increasing supply ? What should be the role of traditional relief providers like the Red Cross in such contexts ?

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About aviyer2010

Professor
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