Get ready for hurricane season in Tampa Bay with social media - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken

Get ready for hurricane season in Tampa Bay with social media

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When hurricanes Charley, Frances, Ivan, and Jeanne tore through Florida in 2004, not many people were on Facebook, and Twitter didn't exist. Social media is now an important tool before and after natural disasters.

"Should something happen this year, we will see a lot of conversation here in the state of Florida that's going across social media," said USF Social Media Expert Dr. Kelli Burns. "Social media sites are where people naturally congregate, just to have everyday conversations. So they are going to turn to these sites to communicate with other people in times of disaster and look for information that can help them."

Most media organizations and lots of government entities now have Twitter and Facebook feeds you can follow. Emergency managers say critical information will be posted to those sites before a storm to help people evacuate and find shelters. Real time updates will be posted during and after the storm.

"Because people carry around their phones at all times, they can always check in no matter where they are whether there's power or no power and see what's going on," explains Burns.

Emergency managers say now is the time to start researching and following media and government organizations. Here are some links to help get you started:

Facebook

WFLA: https://www.facebook.com/WFLANewsChannel8

WFLA Storm Team 8: https://www.facebook.com/StormTeam8WFLA

FEMA: http://www.facebook.com/FEMA

NOAA: http://www.facebook.com/usnoaagov

U.S. National Hurricane Center: http://www.facebook.com/US.NOAA.NationalHurricaneCenter.gov

The Salvation Army: http://www.facebook.com/SalvationArmyUSA

American Red Cross: http://www.facebook.com/redcross

Twitter

WFLA: www.twitter.com/WFLAtampa

WFLA Storm Team 8: www.twitter.com/StormTeam8WFLA

FEMA: www.twitter.com/fema

NOAA: www.twitter.com/usnoaagov

U.S. National Hurricane Center (Atlantic): www.twitter.com/nhc_atlantic

The Salvation Army: www.twitter.com/salvationarmy

American Red Cross: www.twitter.com/redcross

Local Alert Systems

Alert Tampa: http://www.tampagov.net/dept_police/programs_and_services/alert_tampa.asp

Polk County Emergency Notification: http://alertregistration.com/polkcofl/

Pinellas E-Lert: http://www.pinellascounty.org/emergency/stayconnected.htm#elert

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