Social media helps to unite community as relief efforts continue


Instagram and Twitter feeds are keeping residents up to date

Tieless, in a button-down white shirt and navy waterproof jacket, New York governor Andrew Cuomo has travelled across his state to survey storm damages and oversee relief efforts since so-called “Frankenstorm” Sandy hit 11 days ago.

He has been especially busy after this week’s continued storm saga, with nor’easter’s icy winds and inches of snow stalling recovery programmes in badly affected areas. But come Sandy or nor’easter rain and freeze, @NYCGovCuomo Twitter and Instagram accounts have kept New Yorkers up to date on the latest storm-related news. On photo-feed site Instagram, the governor’s profile boasted more than a dozen new photos yesterday, pointing to the ongoing importance of social media in easing the plight of Sandy victims.

“Users snapped 800,000 pictures tagged with #Sandy,” Instagram chief executive Kevin Systrom told a San Francisco technology conference last Monday. The app’s users, including public officials such as Cuomo or New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, uploaded 10 storm-related pictures per second during peak times.

“It was likely the most digitally captured event in history,” Systrom added.

Latest @NYGovCuomo photographs show army-camouflaged donation trucks parked on snowy roads, captioned “bound for Long Island”. User comments in response range from “thank you” to providing locations where aid is most needed and offering support for donation distribution.

The interconnectivity between Instagram, Twitter and Facebook facilitates a dialogue between residents affected by Sandy and disturbed once more by nor’easter, with community leaders and individuals posting relief updates.

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