Twitter might be faster at tracking disasters than human models
While jokes about social media only being good for sharing pet videos will likely live on for quite some time, there's also new evidence that social media is already a highly useful tool during natural disasters.
A recent report from Science Advances detailed recent research that analyzed Twitter activity during recent disaster events and discovered that Twitter might already be faster at predicting ground damage immediately following a disaster than human models.
— Science Magazine (@sciencemagazine) March 12, 2016
Social media is proving to have real utility during disasters
According the research, analysis of data revealed that large social media networks can be utilized to quickly assess the level of damage inflicted by a large-scale disaster.
For example, when examining Twitter data from Hurricane Sandy, researched found correlations between damage caused by the hurricane, Twitter activity, and the average sentiment of relevant tweets.
Social media and the future of relief efforts
The study concluded that social media can bring multiple benefits to a region when disaster strikes, including bringing increased situational awareness, allowing easy dissemination of emergency information, and facilitating the coordination of relief efforts.