As business owners, do we really need more reasons for using Social Media?  In case you haven’t heard about the benefits of using Social Media as a way to connect with people (customers or not) here is a great reason to use it — and how it is changing the world.

On Sunday, November 17, 2013, the central Illinois area was hit with extremely severe weather.  Tornadoes touched down in at least 16 cities.  The weather service determined that three EF-2 tornadoes, packing winds of 111 to 135 mph hit 3 cities south of Chicago. (Chicago Tribune)

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And we followed the devastation on Facebook.  Users posted updates warning others about on the locations of funnel clouds. Residents in areas under the warning posted real-time updates on what they were experiencing.  The News Channels all posted reports and warnings on their Facebook and Twitter News Feeds.  People everywhere could follow the storms as they were happening. Those who realized they were in the path, had the time to take cover.

However, one of the amazing parts of the story came later.

After the devastation a Facebook Page was put up, Found items from the Washington Illinois and Diamond Tornadoes.  The Page began posting updates consisting of items people up to 80 miles away (or more) were finding in their yards, left by the strong winds after the storms blew through. People, who were affected by the destructive storms, were able to find some of their lost items. One family recovered a treasured family photo thanks to another family miles away posting the photo on the FB page!

But the social media blitz didn’t stop there. A Plainfield, Illinois firefighter, Adam Slick, launched a donation drive to benefit tornado victims in Washington, Illinois, and Coal City.  Through his network on Facebook, as well as local online publications, in less than 24 hours a semi-truck was filled with donations.  He took the items down to Coal City on Tuesday morning. (Patch)

These are just a couple of examples of how people have used Facebook and Social Media to help others. It proves that people are monitoring the Social Sites for news and information.  And they are also and taking action, based on these social posts.

For an organizations looking to raise awareness (and even funds) for their projects, Social Media can be a very valuable tool.

The takeaway for businesses, wondering if they should commit resources to Social Media, is that Social Media has far reaching possibilities. This is a large, interested and engaged community that can be moved to action instantly. Social media is more than a set of simple marketing tools, it is the way people communicate and connect with others in very real ways.