Today marks the first anniversary of the Joplin, MO tornado which took the lives of 161 people and left much of the city destroyed. The tornado that swept across Joplin on May 22, 2011 cut a path spanning six miles long and a half mile wide.
In the aftermath of the storm, they city’s phone lines and means of transportation were widely interrupted if not altogether unavailable, leaving the people of Joplin without their major means of communication.
Facebook groups emerged almost immediately after the storm hit and were used for storm information, pictures, support, rescue, and for the search of missing loved ones. Groups like “Joplin, MO Tornado Survivors (11,033 “likes”), Joplin, MO Tornado Recovery (173,647 “likes”), and Joplin, MO – Missing Persons and Survivors Page (7,695 “likes”) gained thousands of followers in a matter of minutes all hoping to locate missing lovers, or to inform others of their safety.
On Twitter alone, the word “Joplin” was mentioned 65,459 people on May 22, 2011. Not only were people with ties to Joplin sending their prayers and best wishes to the town, but other people from other states and countries entirely were eager to reach out and offer their services or donations.
After a year of recovery and time to rebuild, Social Media is still buzzing with news, photos and support for the rallying city of Joplin. Today, the term “Joplin” was trending on Twitter racking in 25,644 mentions and counting. People are using the hash tag #JoplinStrong to highlight the strength and determination that Joplin and its residents portrayed in the wake of such a devastating event.
Support for the regrowth and rebuilding of Joplin is still needed. More information about volunteering and donating can be found here.