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Disaster Expert: Social Media Making Us Impatient For Relief

In this handout GOES satellite image provided by NASA, Hurricane Sandy, pictured at 1255 UTC, moves inland across the mid-Atlantic region on October 30, 2012 in the Atlantic Ocean. (Photo by NASA via Getty Images)

In this handout GOES satellite image provided by NASA, Hurricane Sandy, pictured at 1255 UTC, moves inland across the mid-Atlantic region on October 30, 2012 in the Atlantic Ocean. (Photo by NASA via Getty Images)

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CHICAGO (CBS) – In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, one disaster expert said you can blame social media for the change in expectations on how quickly relief can actually come to those struck by disaster.

WBBM Newsradio’s Dave Berner reports technology has influenced our patience level when disaster hits.

“It’s great to get all this information, but at the same time that means people expect more,” Northwestern University professor Karen Smilowitz said.

She said, in the age of Twitter and social media, it’s much easier for those affected by a storm like Sandy to send out messages that they need power, food, or other relief supplies, but it’s just not possible to get relief to everyone right away.

“I think we expect to get things right away,” Smilowitz said. “It’s much easier for people to communicate their needs, and it’s much harder to meet all these requests. It’s a difficult balancing act, just because expectations have gone up.”

She said the government — and others on the ground providing relief — have been doing a good job on the East Coast, having learned from the mistakes of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Dave Berner Reports