IMMEDIATELY after the March 2011 earthquake in Japan, an unknown man calls the mother of the president of Edelman Japan and reports that her son is okay.
A power outage after the earthquake forced the public relations company executive to tweet his mother's Australian phone number.
He asked whoever was able to read his message to tell his mother that he was safe.
A year later during Hurricane Sandy emergency response authorities in New York received a phone call from a man in Germany. He reported that a relative who had difficulty making local calls, had sent a message that he was stranded on a roof and needed to be rescued.
The two incidents were cited by authorities in the US and Japan when explaining the growing role of social media in disaster response.
A spokeswoman for the US Federal Emergency Management Agency said during the hurricane, there was a spike in mobile usage in New York City and the number of people who accessed the agency's Facebook page.
According to National Weather Service director eastern Jason Tuell, Facebook and Twitter were the go to tool when people faced dangerous situations.
He said the NWS drew 21,000 likes during Sandy.
When power lines were down or congested, social media was used to keep people informed, locate loved ones or let loved ones know they're okay.