News Column

South Jersey Residents Staying Connected through Social Media, Smartphones, Apps

October 31, 2012

Anjalee Khemlani

Social media and text messages were an efficient way to stay in touch during Hurricane Sandy, although power issues have created interruptions in service.

Brandy Bell-Truskey, spokeswoman for AT&T, said Tuesday that areas heavily affected by the storm are experiencing issues.

"We are in the initial stages of performing an on-the-ground assessment of our network for damage," she said.

No specific information was available for the southern New Jersey area.

A spokeswoman for Verizon said the company's network is functioning solidly, particularly in the hardest-hit areas in the Northeast, where more than 94% of cell sites are up and running.

All switching and data centers are functioning normally, Verizon Wireless spokesperson Sheldon Jones said.

Tweets moments after the power went out, and questions about how long the power had been out or which locations were affected, flooded the feeds of social media sites.

Landlines have traditionally been cited as the most effective way to communicate, but as more home phones require electricity to operate, the most reliable form of communication in an emergency has become mobile devices.

"Though it's very early and there are many locations in New Jersey that are inaccessible, it appears that the vast majority of service issues are power-related. For most, service should be restored as power comes back on," Comcast spokesman Jeff Alexander said.

Cellular networks offered a way to get immediate news, weather and emergency updates from governmental agencies and news organizations without the need for power or a TV.

Watching movies and TV shows or listening to music until the power returned were just some ways social-media users passed the time, according to some posts and tweets Monday night.

In addition, the availability of the data networks during power outages allowed users to track updates via mobile apps.

The Hurricane by Red Cross app was ranked second on the Apple App Store charts Monday, said Ted Miller, spokesman for Apple Inc.


For more stories covering the world of technology, please see HispanicBusiness' Tech Channel



Source: (c) 2012 The Press of Atlantic City (Pleasantville, N.J.) Distributed by MCT Information Services


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