Cross Post From  FIR Podcast Network

Welcome to the 27th episode of Digital India Podcast on FIR Podcast Network. This show is ‘Weekly Updates’ brought to you by staff and students of Web Marketing Academy.

Social Media Serves as Lifeline During #ChennaiFloods 

Chennai, a city in Tamil Nadu, India is home to over 4.3 million people. It is undergoing the worst

torrential rains of the century. Large parts of the city are inundated with water overflowing from rivers

and lakes, worsened by the incessant rainfall.

Social media continues to be a huge support for Chennai

(More info: Chennai floods: Social media, creativity helps citizens survive)

Social media usage in Chennai floods 

Phone networks got jammed in many places but people were able to use Facebook, Twitter or

Whatsapp for vital communication such as:

 setting alerts like the Facebook Safety Check feature to mark themselves safe or unsafe

 requesting for help from stranded locations

 information on rescue teams, numbers, power charging units and shelters

 identifying worst hit areas

 streamlining distribution of food & other necessities

 receiving and giving medical help

 donating money and kind

 information on people opening their houses to the stranded, sharing their food and warmth

 crowdsourcing critical information such as Flooded Streets map and  Google spreadsheet

containing all helpline numbers and other vital contact details

 inspirational stories to keep people’s spirits up

Facebook groups such as TamilNadu Flood-Support are doing a great job in getting people timely help.

Read more: Chennai floods: Once again, social media is helping Indians while the government flounders.

How brands pitched in & leveraged social media to spread the word

Brands and celebrities did their bit to help as well with social media taking their messages, offers and

assistance to remotest corners.

 Ola taxi services launched Ola Boats with professional rowers to rescue people from

waterlogged areas.

 Paytm launched a toll free number that Chennai residents and others can call for an instant Rs

30 recharge.

 Online food-ordering app Zomato launched a scheme whereby anyone can order a meal for the

flood-affected. They tied up with local NGOs to deliver the meal in 30 minutes.

 Zoomcar, a self-drive car rental company, pressed its fleet to serve as ambulances.

 Online grocer launched a microsite NammaChennaiRelief where people could

donate groceries online to a common pool as part of relief material.

 Practo, a healthcare discovery platform, put together a list of doctors and hospitals.

 Housejoy offered free services such as electrical check-up, plumbing service, mosquito control

for houses in certain areas.

 Various celebrities, politicians, and foreign governments donated sizable amounts for the relief

efforts; some also participated actively.

 Telephony operators BSNL, Aircel, Bharti Airtel, Idea Cellular and Vodafone announced free talk

time and other offers.

Tips on using social media in a crisis :

The abovementioned scenarios serve as a testament of how technology and social media can help in

dire situations. Some more tips:

 First and foremost, ensure you and people near you are physically out of harm’s way.

 Use social media to generate awareness, receive and get help.

 Do not spam networks with prayers and wishes at this time. They are appreciated but at the

critical moment, people are looking for real help.

 Tag tweets with appropriate hashtags so that your message can be picked up by the right


 Retweet important information. You don’t know who needs help. However, be discerning about

the information source.

 Use options like Facebook’s Safety Check feature if available.

 Don’t encourage rumors and negative behavior.

The resilient spirit of Chennai continues to resonate on social media. Not only has the channel brought

in efficiencies and visibility where needed, it has helped create unity and single minded purpose among

citizens of the country.

You can share your feedback at:

Follow us on twitter:  @wmaindia Until next time, have a good one


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