Disasters have been social forever,” Kate Starbird, a crisis informatics researcher at the University of Washington, writes in an email. She ticks off recent catastrophes–the 2004 tsunami, the Virginia Tech shootings, the fires in Colorado this summer. All were social, she says, but Sandy was an “order of magnitude” more so in terms of volume, due to the massive size–and connectivity–of the populations it affected.
Baer, Drake. November 9, 2012. “As Sandy Became #sandy, Emergency Services Got Social.” Fast Company.