As you know, the devastation of Hurricane Sandy has hit millions. Many turned to Twitter to discuss what they were going through. Today, the company shared some interesting facts and numbers having to do with Hurricane-related activity on the site.
What does this tell you? Twitter was a fine replacement for cell phones and landlines that weren’t working. The interesting thing about these numbers is that the company dug deep down to see exactly what people were talking about.
The context is what matters here, not the numbers:
Mobile usage from people in NYC peaked 10/29 around 9pm (approx same time as ConEd explosion), more than doubling usage from previous 2 days— Twitter (@Twitter) November 2, 2012
Between Saturday, Oct 27 and Tuesday, Oct 30, Tweets mentioning the Red Cross increased 30x.— Twitter (@Twitter) November 2, 2012
This week, mentions of the word “donate” is at a 180-day peak; the phrase “donate blood” is at a 365-day peak.— Twitter (@Twitter) November 2, 2012
On Monday, Oct 29, as people turned to Twitter to search for info, search queries related to Sandy peaked at 20% of total search queries.— Twitter (@Twitter) November 2, 2012
As these statistics show, people weren’t only tweeting, they were consuming information. People were using the search and discover functionality, along with trending topics, to make sure that they had all of the information they needed to navigate their way through everything that was going on on the East Coast. Mother Nature causes quite a scare when these things happen, and having a readily available set of information can calm those nerves.
How big was the tweet surge in NYC during the storm? Have a look at this handy graph:
The fact that the Red Cross got so many mentions is very heartening. That means that the “system” is working, and that Twitter could one day become a national broadcast system in the case of emergency. Yes, it seems like this is a stretch, but it’s not when you really sit down and think it through.
Luckily, from an infrastructure perspective, Twitter was able to stay up throughout the peak of all of this activity. Unfortunately, other sites weren’t so lucky. Even the stock market suffered a bit because of the horrific weather.
It seems like Twitter founder Jack Dorsey was extremely happy with his “baby”:
Proud of Twitter right now.— jack (@jack) October 30, 2012
From my own personal experience during the storm, and even now with the recovery, many of my friends and family reached out to me through Twitter to let me know that they were okay. Some even shared a bit of humor throughout the ordeal.
[Photo credit: Flickr]