Monday, December 10, 2012

Social Media Saves Lives and Unite People

Trapped under the rubble after an earthquake in eastern Turkey, two teenagers called for help in a way that reflects how modernity has transformed even the furthest reaches of this country: they tweeted.

A television reporter saw the online message soon after the 7.2-magnitude temblor on Sunday and informed the AKUT Search and Rescue Association. Twitter has a location feature that allows users to pinpoint their exact co-ordinates. Within two hours, a search team had extracted the young men from a collapsed building.

Turks do not yet rely on such technologies as much as the Japanese, who reportedly tweeted their earthquake earlier this year at a rate of 1,200 mentions per minute, but social media users have made impressive use of their networks: shaming companies into donating help, publicizing calls for supplies and encouraging thousands of people to offer their homes as temporary shelters.

When a former media adviser to the Turkish Prime Minister, Ahmet Tezcan, wrote on Twitter that he would give his Istanbul residence to a needy family, he started a movement that attracted 17,000 similar offers within eight hours.

“I was sitting at home, watching TV, and I asked myself what I can do,” Mr. Tezcan said. “I’m living in Ankara but I also have a house in Istanbul, which I use for short visits. So I decided to say on Twitter that I could voluntarily give my house. I put it up there, and many people started responding saying they would do the same.”

After the initial rush of offers, city officials in Istanbul set up a 24-hour hotline to register people who want to give their homes to people displaced by the quake.

Returning from a visit to the quake zone, Ahmet Ercan, a leading geophysicist, concluded that the initial phase of the response had gone relatively well.

“The rescuers were very successful this time,” Mr. Ercan said. “The victims used Twitter and mobiles to alert people about their location, which really helped.”

This news story is from The earthquake really helped people of Turkey unite again in such disaster. Also, this story shows how using social media effectively helps victims to get rescued at the time of the disaster and aids and necessities to be distributed quickly and in an organized manner.


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