In the early hours of March 3, 2020, tornados swept through Middle Tennessee, including our hometown of Nashville. The impact was immediate and devastating, taking 24 lives, damaging or destroying hundreds of buildings, and ripping out trees and telephone poles standing in the way as it ravaged some of the tightest communities in Nashville.
One reason we love being a part of the Nashville community is just that: the community. Take a walk through many commercial districts, and you’ll see a mural beloved by Nashvillians and visitors alike. The “I Believe in Nashville” mural embodies the vitality, persistence and resilience of our city.
Sadly, Nashville has faced natural disasters in the past, including tornados, fires and flooding. But the city has built a reputation of quickly and righteously standing back up after Mother Nature has tried to push us down
In the days following the March tornados, that spirit was evident once again.
As affected communities grappled with the impact of the storms, communities rallied largely through social media. The reality of the storm’s severity spread quickly across social networks, prompting people to connect with loved ones, coworkers and neighbors to check on their safety and offer to lend a hand, both from near and far.
The community of Nashvillians quickly turned to social media to offer help. Because of the accessibility, speed of dissemination, ease of use and shareability of communication on social media, requests for assistance spread like wildfire. Volunteers sprung into action, activating in pockets around town that had been hit hardest. While the path of the tornados was deadly, the path of the helpers was even stronger. All across social media, individuals showed their belief in Nashville by heeding the call for whatever was needed, whether it was canned goods, hugs, chainsaws, flashlights, pet food, monetary donations and more.
But most importantly, Nashville showed up with helping hands. The calls for supplies, funds and volunteers spread, and users were quickly connected via social media to organizations that needed assistance. Social networks connected volunteers to those in need, helpers to jobs, and donations to recipients. The ways in which social communication became real-life activism in such a short amount of time was astounding.