Sidste år i August, flygtede jeg fra orkanen Irene. Jeg havde allerede haft æren af Washington D.C.’s største jordskælv i nyere tid og havde ikke lyst til at blive fanget af endnu et rekordforsøg fra naturens hånd. Her til aften venter jeg nu på Sandy. Et vejrfænomen, der er en unik kombination af en orkan omkranset af jetstrømme og derfor har udsigt til at få titlen af “a storm in a generation”. Ligesom den gang, er jeg lykkelig for adgangen til alverdens informationer og ligesom den gang, er det skønt at vide, at man ikke er alene. Men i modsætningen til da, har jeg ikke en returbillet, som jeg gerne vil bruge samme dag, stormen skal ramme.
Nedenfor er det indlæg, som jeg aldrig fik skrevet helt færdigt den gang i august. Men nu hvor jeg har lyst til at skrive om sociale medier’s fortræffeligheder, her mens vi venter på Sandy, virker det omsonts at gentage nedenstående. Derfor: Min kladde fra den gang jeg sad alene på et hotelværelse og ventede på nyt om Irene, hvilket blev til historien om, hvordan Twitter + min skandinaviske nationalitet fik mig ud af D.C. i tide.
(p.s. Den gang var bloggen på engelsk, så det er kladden også)
How Twitter Got Me The Tools Needed To Get Out Of DC – Social Media In The Wake Of Irene
As many people have noted in the states already, people are increasingly turning to social media for updates around natural disasters such as hurricane Irene. And with good reason. When I was trying to get a grasp of the situation – should I try to rebook my flights, should I find a place to stay for the weekend, or? – I found an aboundance of answers and guides online.
The official channels have stepped up since Katrina, and seems to be working on all platforms to get information to the public. I’m sure that more hurricane-savy people have ideas for improvement, but I was very satisfied with my “treatment” through social media.
Me and Irene
I first heard of her, when a coworker suggests I should check my flight status due to the approaching hurricane. Then: google and twitter. While google gave me the news – twitter gave me tools to act on them.
Thanks to DC Airports, I got directed to the link to Ba.com, where I checked my flight status. Following DC Airports I saw that the carriers started offering their passengers the option to re-book their flights free of costs. But not my carrier.
A news story cited a tweet by the Mayer of Washington about sandbags. That lead me to his twitter account, and from there to http://twitter.com/#!/fema/irene – the aggregated twitter list on all official information regarding Irene.
From here I could read disaster guides and sign up for DCs alert systems, to receive emails and text messages about change in status, warnings etc.
When I woke up friday morning and saw their alert email, I was frustrated that I’d picked the one carrier not letting people rebook. They kept telling me that my flight was on schedule. When I replied saying it would probably be cancelled because of the storm, they then again told me it was on time.
Frustrated, I twitted I should have stayed with SAS, which they in turn retweeted. The tweets got BAs attention, who started to following me on Twitter and reply to my tweets with advice and links to action.
While waiting on hold at BA-s phone system, I saw the magnetude of Irene via a link on Google+. I scanned the tweets, and tried to use the online tools that BA themselves provided without any luck. When I finally got through to an operator, no flights were available. Luckily, perhaps because of my “Copenhagen” location stated in my Twitter-bio, BA’s twitter account gave me the number to the Scandinavian office, where the system was working (the american one had now broken down) and found me some tickets (out of thin air it seemed).
I did an easy online check in, and checked the TSA-mobile app to find out if I had to plan with additional waiting time at security. But no, everything seemed to be working fine at Dulles.
Happily informed and with a new ticket, I went out to Dulles that serves their waiting customers the luxery of free wifi (CPH take note, it’s a wonderfull service). At Heathrow, signs alerted me that all flights to and from the east coast was cancelled. Sent Twitter a mental thank you-note before boarding to Copenhagen.