80% of Queensland has been rocked by devastating floods creating havoc and chaos in many parts including the capital city of Brisbane. Here's how government agencies and some enterprising individuals are leveraging social media and the power of the web to create awareness, call for assistance and prompt donations for the relief effort.
Twitter and the Brisbane Floods
At this moment Twitter is quite possibly the best source of up to the minute information on the Brisbane floods. Trending topics include #qldfloods, #bnefloods and #TheBigWet, which when searched provide important updates from the Queensland Police Services (@QPSmedia), photos taken by individuals, links to videos and sometimes calls for assistance to find loved ones.
In particular, the Queensland Police Service has been doing a fantastic job of keeping everyone up to date with important information such as:
- "Train services are resuming in parts of Brisbane. Stop walking on the tracks #TheBigWet #qldfloods"
- "No homes can be reconnected to electricity until they have been certified as safe by an electrician #qldfloods #TheBigWet"
- #mythbuster: Wivenhoe Dam is NOT about to collapse! #thebigwet #qldfloods"
- #mythbuster: There is currently NO fuel shortage in Brisbane. #qldfloods #thebigwet
- "@QPSmedia sensational job you guys, you're rewriting the manual"
- "@QPSmedia You would have to be the most reliable source of info on #qldfloods. Appreciate the #mythbuster tweets. Good to have the facts"
- "Top marks to @QPSmedia for updates, road closures and warnings. Excellent work. #qldfloods"
Facebook Groups and the Queensland Floods
While the QPS are doing a great job on Twitter, they and numerous others are also garnering a huge audience on Facebook.
- Queensland Floods (a Facebook Application with over 86,000 fans)
- Queensland Floods (a Facebook Page with over 15,000 fans)
- Queensland Police Service
- A collection of Brisbane Area Flood Photos
There have also been retail chains such as BingLee prompting that people join their Facebook page on the premise that every new 'Fan' would add a $1 donation to a maximum of $10,000. The promotion has been met with a mixed response with people not taking kindly to the retail chain using an adverse situation to create a Facebook following.
YouTube Videos during the Floods
While Twitter and Facebook pages provide up to the minute information, the scenes that hit home the hardest can be seen on video. Here is one such video from the Courier Mail's feed on YouTube (We would have embedded it but at the time of writing the functionality was disabled). It's worthwhile noting that this was filmed prior to the flood reaching its highest point. For people who know this area of Brisbane well, it's a sad realisation of how affected some areas are.
Google Maps and Predicted Flood Areas
While this is not social media it is worthwhile noting the work of the Google Crisis Response Team who have put together a mash-up of available data on a Google Map showing river flood levels, predicted flood zones, road closures and the affected suburbs.
Share your Flood Stories
There is no doubt that the devastating floods and its effects are far from over. However, from the exchanges and conversations noted on the social networks we can take a small measure of solace in the fact that sentiment and morale is high. Coupled with the determination of the Queensland community, we are already well on our way to rebuilding a new future.
We'd love to hear what you've seen and heard on the various Social Media networks over the past few days. Useful links, urgent notices, videos, images, flood advice, anything, everything.