Tweeting up a storm

By Dave

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- The way people connect with each other has changed greatly over the last four or five years, especially with respect to social media.{}

It's not just about finding old high school friends or getting the newest idea for a cupcake recipe.{} It can also be used to help save lives in the event of a hurricane or other natural disaster."This is the way people are connecting with one another," said Ashley Caldwell, owner of The Modern Connection. "It's how we communicate and it is so important to have a presence if you are in any form of authority dealing with a storm."It is crucial because the watches and the warnings come from the authority figures. Tom Crawford, Sonya Stevens and I tweet and post Facebook updates on watches, warnings, and any other important weather information about approaching storms."You really need to use social media, especially if you have a smartphone, tablet, or any type of mobile device. If the power gets knocked out you can still access a Twitter account, or a Facebook page, and that's really what we are seeing in a disaster situation," said Caldwell.Fortunately, there have not been any hurricanes in the Lowcountry to test the reach of social media in that type of situation. It was heavily relied upon during tornado outbreaks in Mississippi, Alabama and Joplin, Mo., and it saves lives if users are connected."Most recently, there's the wildfires in Colorado, where people's power was knocked out. The main thing social media did was let people know where relief was located, where to take pets if you were evacuating, where the evacuation routes are, and if your family is safe.{} It's a great way to stay in touch with people," said Caldwell.The ABCNews4 PinPoint Weather Team is on Facebook with fan pages for each meteorologist and our Twitter handle is @WCIVWX. Additionally, I can be found as @LCWxDave, and I tweet a lot more information than is available for on-air broadcasts. I try to make it even easier for all the "tweeps" out there by adding hash tags."Open hashtag, or #CHSWX, on Twitter and you can see all the tweets containing that hash tag, which is Charleston's weather," said Caldwell.