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From quake to hurricane on Facebook

Tracking Hurricane Irene.

Tracking Hurricane Irene. Photo Credit: AP

With the rumble of Wednesday’s 5.8 magnitude earthquake fading into memory, Derek Donnelly is getting a head start on the next threat from nature – Hurricane Irene, a Category 3 storm that’s headed to the East Coast.

The public advocacy and technology consultant in Merrick just set up a Facebook page called “Hurricane Irene Long Island,” where people can respond to a poll on the possible severity of the storm’s impact on the area.

Right now the page has just seven “likes.” But the “Long Island Earth Quake” group he formed Tuesday on Facebook in the moments after the quake garnered more than 290 members, as people scrambled to find and provide information, as well as share their stories.

Says Donnelly of Tuesday’s flocking to his group – “If flash mobs can use social media for bad things, why can't society use it for a good purpose. Flash Information through social media is what I imagine you could call it. It’s public advocacy for the good of the public.”

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