By Sheldon Levine – Thursday, January 20th, 2011

In 2009 I was fortunate to have lived in Australia for six months. I had a fantastic time while I was there seeing a beautiful country and meeting great people everywhere I went. That’s why I had been watching the news a lot lately as the country had been hit with flooding. Specifically, Queensland has been hit the hardest by the massive amount of rain and flooding.

After speaking with some people down in Sydney about the use of social media throughout the disaster, I’ve decided to take a closer look into what was happening. Using MAP, our social media monitoring and analytics platform, I pulled up some information using terms for “Queensland floods” and the hashtags #QLDfloods and #TheBigWet.

Looking at our world map for Twitter, we can see that the highest concentration of tweets were coming from the residents of Australia’s East coast. At the same time though, we can see that people from around the world were tweeting about the disaster.

Viewing online traditional media sources we can see that media from around the world was also talking about the floods.

When I looked to see what was being said in the blogosphere I was kind of overwhelmed. Most of the talk and reporting on the floods focused on the positive side of such a terrible time. The first sample I found is talking about heroes helping in a time of need while the second focused around already trying to raise money to help the people who’s lives had been washed away.

Pulling up our buzzgraph for Twitter, which shows words most used in conjunction with our search terms, we’re able to see that people were using the medium to seek out support. Some of the main key words seem to be an “appeal” for people to “pls” “donate”. We can also see that people were using Twitter to spread the word for “fundraisers” and “auctions” to help with “relief”.

While I know the disaster will take a very long time to clean up after and people will have to rebuild their lives, it was nice to see that so many people were focused on helping. I even ran a search to see if I could find people trying to ask for help through social media in the height of the floods. I added the word “help” to our search and limited it to only in Australia and could still only find people looking to help and not for help.

It’s really nice to see how social media can bring people together to help others whom they have never met. We hope that everyone down in Queensland and all of Australia is alright and if you’d like to help out yourself you can click here to donate to the Queensland Premier’s Disaster Relief Appeal