Back in the 1970’s the Independent Radio Network was being rolled out. A programme controller at one station told me that the best thing that can happen to a new local broadcaster is a fall of snow or a flood. There’s nothing like chaos to get people tuned in.
On a recent visit to California, FEMA chief Craig Fugate’s agenda read like an all-star roster of tech companies: Start the day at Twitter and Craigslist, drop by Wired at lunch, then on to visit Apple andFacebook.
Because he’s seen that when all hell breaks loose, disaster survivors turn to social networks — both in their neighborhoods and online. Even in the rubble of Haiti’s 2010 earthquake, text messaging still worked.
“We’re there to support the survivors,” Fugate says. “They shouldn’t have to fit our system, we should fit how they communicate, the tools they’re using.”