Social networkers respond to Hurricane Gustav

As Hurricane Gustav was heading toward the Gulf Coast during this past weekend, the Gustav Information Center took shape online, bringing together government information feeds, blogger reports and resources.


The Gustav site provides status reports, including weather maps from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Weatherbug.com, a Google Map showing evacuation centers and routes and feeds from various bloggers and Twitter subscribers in the Gulf Coast area.


One recent blog entry highlighted a new “Emergency SMS Resource for Gustav Evacuees” and asked readers to pass it along to others. SMS is a communications protocol for sharing text messages via mobile phones.


“Please send this to anyone in areas affected by Gustav who is NOT familiar with ‘social media.’ PLEASE DON'T JUST BLOG ABOUT IT! Many people have already left their Internet connections. Try to SMS a summary of this information to them, or call them,” the blogger writes.


The Web site also includes a feed from Craigslist highlighting volunteering and housing opportunities in the wake of the hurricane.


The Gustav Information Center, based on Ning social-networking technology, includes nearly 500 members, with five leading on the project.

About the Author

John S. Monroe is the editor-in-chief of Federal Computer Week.

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