In Time of Crisis, I Headed for iPhone

by Ron on June 2, 2011

Funnel cloud approaching the ground - NOAAImage via Wikipedia

I have lived in Massachusetts for my entire life. Yesterday for the first time ever, I heard tornado warning sirens go off. I gathered my kids and headed for the basement with my iPhone. 

From there, I texted with my wife who was at work. I communicated with friends on Facebook and Twitter and I monitored the progress of the storm on my Weather Channel iPhone app.

What I didn’t do, at least right away, was turn on the TV and see what the news was saying about it. When I did turn on the news much later, I found I was getting better information from my social network than I was from them.

Channel 22 in Springfield was doing a good job tracking the storm and got some fantastic video of the funnel cloud, but I heard about building damage from my wife, who reported a colleague with parents in Springfield had told her the neighborhood was a mess with roofs off and lots of major damage.

The TV news (based in that city) didn’t begin to report this until much later.

All that said, there are lessons to be learned here. First of all, my phone has become my communications center. Up until the second half of this century we would have headed to TVs. We now head to our phones. I thought it was telling that a friend on Twitter told me, she hadn’t even considered turning on the TV.

It also showed that our social networks are better equipped to deliver real time news than the news outlets using conventional news gathering methods.

That I was able to get as much news as I did without turning on the TV amazed me. It was a devistating day for many folks. I’m grateful that my family was spared, but I also found it interesting that in time of crisis, my tool of choice, was my phone.

Cross-posted on by Ron Miller.

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