Happy 2011, and welcome to the New Year!
I hope you had a wonderful winter break, and didn’t feel too lonely. In the event you spent your winter break in certain parts of the country, the winter weather likely affected your plans. Let’s face it… it was the first white Christmas Atlanta had seen in 100 years, and down in Florida with my parents, we were shivering through temperatures in the 30s. And that’s just in the warmer parts of the U.S.!
For those spending your vacation anywhere else, Mother Nature likely dumped massive quantities of snow on you. The snow put snarls into many travel plans. Airlines cancelled flights en masse, and suddenly instead of being filled with happy travelers anticipating holiday getaways or feasts with relatives, airports across the country were filled with miserable would-be travelers.
Even celebrities weren’t exempt from weather problems: Kim Kardashian and Bono were amongst the stranded. Heck, even Al Roker from the Today Show had a hard time getting to work!
If you were stuck in an airport, what could you have done (beyond calling family, friends or even the airlines) to get information as to your next move? Yet again, social media could have come to the rescue. Here are some survival tips:
Bring your chargers in your carry-on bags. Some airports even have charging stations now, but since you can’t find them everywhere, you’ll want to come prepared. As a new iPhone user, it amazes me how quickly a battery can drain. The airlines reported that during the storms, a huge portion of hits on their websites came from mobile devices.
Check out the pages for your airlines. Many of the airlines, including Delta, Southwest, Airtran and United posted updates about travel delays on their fanpages. Unfortunately, many of the posts on their walls included complaints from disgruntled passengers. Probably to be expected.
In this instance, Twitter was the social tool of choice. Delta Airlines had a team of customer service reps who responded to each question or complaint. JetBlue sent individual direct messages, but Continental got the award for worst use of social media during Snowmageddon… a standard message of: ““Our Social Media team is unable to rebook or give info on individual flights. We know this isn’t what you want to hear.” You’re right… that isn’t what I’d want to hear. So much for flying the friendly skies.
Twitter could also have been used for info searches, using hashtags such as #snowmageddon, #snowloco, #snowpocalypse, #snowtorious, or #blizzageddon. And some people used Twitter simply to commiserate.
(4) Photo Sites
TwitPics and YFrog were loaded down with photos from people throughout the social world.
YouTube and Vimeo had plenty of home-made videos to offer, including this one:
Plenty of people used blogs to vent and express their frustration, or offer their observations on the insanity around them. Ironically, some public officials criticized the mayor of Newark who got into the Twitter act… Cory Booker used Twitter to give real-time reports about the snow and how things were being cleared up. This article shows some of his actual tweets. I’m guessing the residents of Newark were happy to see his tweets. At least he wasn’t on vacation in not-so-warm Florida.
So the next time you’re stuck in an airport, which of these tools will you use to help maintain your sanity?