In Case of Emergency, Go To MySpace

Scientists propose using social network Web sites in the event of major calamities.

February 16, 2007

1 Min Read
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On the new CBS show "Jericho," a sleepy little town in Kansas appears to be home to the only survivors of some massive apocalyptic disaster. The folks have tried contacting the outside world using conventional and mobile phones, radio, etc--but with no success. Maybe they should have tried logging onto MySpace to see who's still out there.

It may sound odd, but that's exactly what several computer scientists are proposing in the event of a major disaster. With emergency numbers and call centers no doubt overwhelmed, folks may have trouble getting critical information. Logging onto an as-yet undeveloped Web-based emergency networking site to share information and survival tips could improve one's chances of surviving the event.

While it does sound interesting, there are of course the logistics to ponder: What if you have no power or access to a network (wired or wireless)? Should the site be monitored to make sure the information is credible, and during a crisis, how do you confirm that it is? I mean, what if someone posts that Paris Hilton was hanging with Lindsey the night the bombs fell and it turned out to be Britney? I'd hate to be spreading the wrong info.

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