Social Media And Disasters, Or, Sometimes It's Okay To Overshare

May 4, 2010

We all have them: friends who share too much.

Once upon a time, the Sharer was that person who'd down too many Jello shots and corner you on the sofa, confessing that they'd always had a crush on your best friend. It was painful and awkward, but fairly brief.

Now, the Sharer tries to fill up every second of our day with Tweets and Facebook updates evaluating the quality of oatmeal at their local IHOP. Usually we can tune out that sort of chatter, but sometimes, it's exactly what we want and need. Last weekend's flooding in Nashville was a perfect example.

Social media has proven very useful in circulating details about everything from minor traffic accidents to major news events. That's happened just in the past couple of years -- sometime after Hurricane Katrina (August 2005) and before Gustav (September 2008). In other words, right around the time of the iPhone launch.

Over the weekend, Sharers across Tennessee generated thousands of tweets, Facebook updates, YouTube clips, and other media -- more than even Google could track. Here at HighGearMedia, we were concerned about our colleagues at Nissan's U.S. headquarters, located outside Nashville in the the town of Franklin. We checked fan pages, and dove into hashtags like #nashville and #nashvilleflood to keep up with the goings on. Yesterday, we heard from friends over there who had this to say:

Basically, we're open for business but lots of folks around here are still bailing out... Here is the "official" language...

1 - Nissan North America's offices in Franklin, TN, are open today. A number of our employees were impacted by the heavy rain and subsequent flooding across Middle Tennessee. Nissan is encouraging employees to adhere to local advisories and make safety their first priority.

2 - Nissan's Smyrna assembly plant did not run production Sunday evening, May 2, due to road closures. Operations now are back to normal.

Sun is shining today though!

So what we're getting at is: yes, occasionally, it's okay to overshare.

If you haven't seen this video of images from the flood, do yourself the favor. And on a much lighter note, if you're looking to buy a used car, check Marty Padgett's tips on how to avoid taking a flood-damaged ride home from your local dealership.

[Nissan, YouTube]

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