Last November 2013, the world was again ravaged by disaster. It was recorded to be the strongest typhoon recorded in modern history; Typhoon Haiyan’s landfall was in Tacloban, Leyte a small city in the central Philippines. It left more than 5,000 dead, and almost the whole population of Tacloban was left homeless. This became an opportunity for the social media to be a positive agent of change and take a break from being its evil form, people’s time waster.
Hours from the said disaster, Facebook and Twitter were full of news regarding the onslaught of the typhoon, however, there were problems such as no media coverage because of the destruction of signal towers. So there were a couple of hours that the nation was clueless. But when people learned of what happened to Tacloban, they began to ask for donations and help from others. Different organizations were alerted through social media, in no time there were pledges coming in from different countries and individuals. In a span of one week, “Yolanda” has been mentioned more than 3 million times. This helped in the relaying of information to relatives and friends who did not know what happened to their loved ones in Tacloban. Through social media, some were able to find the people they were looking for.
Different groups were created to cater the needs of the survivors of the Typhoon Yolanda, because of the sharing of information, people knew what was still lacking and needed. Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and even Instagram became the new source of information that is readily available to anyone. Unlike before that when there is disaster, a couple of emails were sent to organizations and there is still a lack of information especially relating to remote areas. Today, there was too much information from everyone at once that the teams of relief workers cannot read everything.
For the first time in history, networking and social media site users became aware of what is happening to a place halfway around the globe and they were able to extend their help in simple ways. The world took a break from social media bullying, fighting and the self-syndrome where the most important events relate to us. Social media became a help to those in need.