Social media at its best: a community sharing information and a known information source carrying and distributing that information.

saltlogo1By Pepper Parr

September 13, 2014

Burlington, ON.


The phrase social media means different things to different people. And there are few really good examples of how social media works and the role it can play in the sharing of information.

While there are mountains of information out there – what exists may not be what you want. Perfect social media is when what you want is also what others have to share.

Flood Fairview plaza

A plaza on Fairview – stores flooded.

Last August 4th when rain fell on the city for close to eight hours and left 191mm of water looking for a place to go – the Weather Network was collecting data from anyone who had something to send in.

The link  here is a really good example of social media doing what it is supposed to do. The piece you have looked at was obtained by the city from the Weather Network and shown at a city Development and Infrastructure committee more than a month after the rains fell.

The Weather Network took video clips sent to them and just stitched them together into a strip of film and loaded it on their web site.

Flood weather network bridge

Individuals sent in clips taken from the cell cameras – which are stitched together by the Weather Network and aired.

Imagine if that piece of video had been shown to the public the day after the storm – Burlington would have had a much better idea as to what had happened and the response to the flood would have been much more engaged.

Had video like this been used at the Ribfest; had the story of the flood been told to the more than 100,000 people who came from places other than Burlington – the amount raised would have been much more than the $40,000 that was raised.

That $40,000 was $40,000 more than the Community Foundation had before Ribfest and the community is grateful – but when compared to the $20,000 that one man and 35 volunteers raised in four hours on Elwood Street – questions get asked.

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