Social Media and the Toronto Blackout

July 6, 2010  |  Twitter

Summertime… and the living is easy… That’s what the old song says, anyway.  But nothing was easy about summertime in Toronto yesterday.  In fact, it was downright HARD.  Around 4:45 pm,  elevators throughout the financial district jerked to a stop, lights went out, computer screens went dark, and people’s eyes shot open in disbelief:  BLACKOUT.  But this Blackout was different from any of the others we’ve seen before.  Why?   Social Media was centre stage. (More…) 

People immediately began Tweeting to get the word out.  Even the media was following tweets on the hashtag #darkTO and reporting on people’s blogs and eyewitness accounts.  It’s a completely new way of disseminating information to those who cover news in order to get the message out on television, radio and the web.  Astounding.

And get this… 26 year old Joel Dembe was stuck in his wheelchair on the 18th floor of the TD tower when he decided to send his tweet to the top… to Toronto Mayor David Miller.  Guess what?  The mayor responded immediately… and within 15 seconds of receiving Dembe’s phone number, called him to talk, then sent the fire department to help.  Now that’s service with a smile!

Could it have turned out differently for the marketing analyst?  Absolutely.  Did Twitter save the day?  You bet.  Call it a happy ending thanks to the wonders of modern technology. ;-)

And while you’re at it, think about what a GREAT STORY this will make when Dembe’s grandchildren ask:  “Where were YOU when the lights went out in 2010, grandpa?”

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