Philippines, 29 January 2020 – More than being the go-to platform for people to keep updated on #WhatsHappening; Twitter provides an avenue for people to participate in events, even in times of crisis. This has been observed when the Philippines’ second most active volcano erupted recently.
With the eruption of Taal Volcano since January 12, Filipinos flocked to Twitter to stay updated on how the situation unfolded in Batangas and nearby provinces, including Metro Manila. People were quick to share updates from where they were, giving the Twiiterverse a picture of the gravity of the incident. Bayanihan – the Filipino spirit of unity was evident on the platform from sharing important essential information to initiating donation drives for afflicted families.
Here’s how Filipinos on Twitter showed bayanihan amidst the calamity:
1. Hashtags for real-time updates
During times of crisis, hashtags can be a powerful tool to stay updated on current affairs. Filipinos, as well as government and/or NGOs, were quick to use hashtags such as #TaalEruption2020 , #TaalVolcano, and #WalangPasok to share information and the situation in their area.
TAAL VOLCANO BULLETIN
20 January 2020, 8:00 AM
— Disaster Information Service PH (@DisasterInfoPH) January 20, 2020
2. Following and Retweeting verified information from trusted accounts
Reliable and verified accounts were followed by the Filipinos. People started to Retweet from these accounts to help spread pertinent and verified information to help others keep updated.
We are monitoring the updates regarding the #TaalVolcano eruption and our thoughts are with all those who are affected. To stay safe, follow these health tips by @WHOPhilippines #TaalEruption2020 https://t.co/vUnaERMQsu
— Dr Takeshi Kasai (@takeshi_kasai) January 14, 2020
— Noemi L. Dado (@momblogger) January 13, 2020
3. A call for relief efforts
Filipinos were quick to take matters into their own hands- this time by using Twitter as a tool to help the Taal evacuees. People set up their own relief operations to help the Taal evacuees and connect people looking for volunteering opportunities. In these instances, Filipinos on Twitter used the Hashtag #ReliefPH.
A formal post for the fundraiser and donations!
I'm utilizing whatever traction I get from my social media accounts to ask for help. I don't think I could do this alone but if we gather as much money and donations to give to those in need, that would be very appreciated!
Pls RT pic.twitter.com/nW8Xm4mY4N
— sunn (@pusangkalat) January 15, 2020
On Twitter, nobody gets left behind. FIlipinos did not forget to rescue the animals that lived within the area, and also initiated relief drives for them.
TO ALL TAAL ANIMAL RESCUERS, we have a 6000 sqm lot located at Baras, Rizal which can be used as shelter to any kind of animals. From big horses to small puppies. Message me! The Happy Alpha Project #THAP #ProjectStray #HelpTaal
— Paty Tabas (@kalaPatyyyy) January 15, 2020
4. A keen eye on misinformation
Filipinos were very careful about what information they shared. Hence, they opted to Retweet information from credible sources like trusted media, government agencies or NGO/relief organizations and encouraged others to verify the news first before sharing.
Twitter is where breaking news and announcements from government agencies, relief organisations, and media are shared. From volunteers to citizens, Twitter helps every person in the Philippines see what’s happening in real time when they need it the most. Check out#TaalEruption2020 to always be updated on the latest news about the eruption or #ReliefPH if you want to lend a helping hand and volunteer to help the Taal evacuees.