Red Argyle Logo

Patterns
The Salesforce Blog with Tailored Goodness

Blackout and the Social Profile

1.4 Million Affected By Massive Power Outage In California, Arizona And Mexico

I don’t know if anyone was following the San Diego Blackout story yesterday.  From my perspective here in the east, not much information graced the news.  However, I follow someone on Twitter that posted about it.  Curious, I searched on the hashtag and was inundated with news about the blackout!  I learned a few things about this, both from a professional perspective and a personal one:

Professional thoughts

  • Twitter is no joke.  I’ve been evangalizing Twitter for three years, but things like this prove its value to me.  I even saw people tweeting things like “No news, no power, but getting info through Twitter”.
  • When infrastructure failed, people turned to Social Media for information.  People were saying things like “My radio does not work, my TV does not work, but I am getting info from my phone”.
  • Social is not the future, it is happening already.  In a way, even in my vouyerestic viewing of the #SDBlackout hashtag, I felt like I was a part of this happening.
  • Salesforce had no disruptions in service.  1.4 million without power, but Salesforce users could still access the service from their mobile devices.  Go cloud!
  • I saw emergency plans being enacted by organizations.  Police and municipalities were tweeting updates, live tweeting press conferences, and spreading news.  From what I read this morning, there were no deaths attributed to the blackout, so something worked.  On the other hand…

Personal Thoughts

  • Have a personal emergency plan!  Saw frustrated people saying they could not get a hold of their family and they didn’t know what to do.  People with no food/water.  Luckily, the situation is resolved now, but imagine if it had lasted longer?  It is important to have a personal disaster/emergency plan, as well as one for your family.
  • Many Tweets about people talking to their neighbors for the first time.  This was surprising, and sad.  It’s sad that we need something like a blackout to instill a feeling of true community.  Sure, there is the social media community, but does it exist at the expense of our neighborhoods?
  • I saw *gasp* tweets about people reading books and playing board games!  An abomination?  Or a reminder that sometimes, we need to unplug and enjoy the pleasures of the physical world.

In conclusion

I learned a lot from this small exercise.  Twitter is a great tool and a way to explore the world and be a part of news events.  I reached out to a few people that were involved and received rapid responses.  How great is that?  It truly democratizes everyone, and also allows everyone to help each other in surprising ways.

It also makes me think about how Salesforce.com is leveraging the “Social Profile” to allow users to get a better view of their customers/members.  If I were using my social profile enabled CRM yesterday and had customers that were affected, I could have made it an opportunity for my company.  I could also have helped share news through my socially enabled CRM and become a trusted source of information for my customers.  I’m sure there are many other use cases just waiting to be discovered. Do you know what your customers are going through?  Do you have the tools to respond?