Assemblyman Graf (R– Holbrook) today thanked all those who helped him share vital information with fellow Long Islanders during Hurricane Irene by reposting his alerts on Facebook and utilizing their email contact lists.
Social networking helped Al Graf clarify some of the confusing reports surrounding Irene and the damage left in the hurricane’s wake. In response to many questions received at his office, Assemblyman Graf is thankful to the many people who joined him to help distribute vital information to the public through different forms of social networking, notably Facebook.
Throughout the course of Hurricane Irene and its aftermath, Assemblyman Graf and his staff vigorously posted helpful new information to alert his constituents. They began by posting on 450 individual Facebook pages, by sending out numerous emails and requesting people to forward the information to others. "However, Facebook's software incorrectly detected the Assemblyman's activities as possible spam and slowed down the process.” Calls to Facebook, alerting the company of the nature of the messaging, were unfortunately received by an automated response. Graf and his staff were undeterred at the technology setback and pushed forward.
Determined to put breaking information in the hands of his constituents, Graf and his staff went to work on an alternative plan, creating a new Facebook group site called “Assemblyman Al Graf’s Updates.” More than 200 people immediately signed up. It turned out the newly created group site was a more effective channel to respond to constituent questions and disseminate fresh information during the storm. The site will remain up indefinitely as a tool for the community. Graf plans to expand the nature of the “Assemblyman Al Graf’s Updates” Facebook page to exchange diverse and important state and local information with the public. The site can be accessed and joined by searching “Assemblyman Al Graf’s Updates” on Facebook.
“In non-emergency situations this group site will be used to send out information about different issues facing the state and the people of the 5th Assembly district,” said Graf. “If people are not interested in statewide updates and only want to utilize the site in an emergency, they can ‘de-friend’ and then sign up again if an emergency occurs. Communication during the time of an emergency is invaluable; in the new age of social networking, it is imperative that we use this new media to get the correct information out there for the benefit of people who may find themselves in harm’s way.”