EmerGent - Guidelines to increase the benefit of social media in emergencies

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Quick Facts

Publishing Organisation:
EmerGent FP7 Project
Covers Thematic
  • Crisis communication Crisis communication is a strategic approach to corresponding with people and organizations during a disruptive event. When a crisis occurs, proactive, quick and detailed communication is critical.</br></br></br>Source: www.techtarget.com/searchdisasterrecovery/definition/crisis-communication
  • Legal/Standards Legal Requirement means any federal, state, local, municipal, foreign or other law, statute, constitute, principle of common law, resolution, ordinance, code, edict, decree, rule, regulation, ruling or requirement issued, enacted, adopted, promulgated, implemented or otherwise put into effect by or under the authority of any Governmental Body. </br></br>Source: https://www.lawinsider.com/dictionary/legal-requirement</br></br>Standards are voluntary documents that set out specifications, procedures and guidelines that aim to ensure products, services, and systems are safe, consistent, and reliable. They cover a variety of subjects, including consumer products and services, the environment, construction, energy and water utilities, and more.</br></br>Source: https://www.standards.org.au/standards-development/what-is-standard
  • Social Media Strategy A social media strategy is a document outlining your social media goals, the tactics you will use to achieve them and the metrics you will track to measure your progress</br></br>Source:https://blog.hootsuite.com/how-to-create-a-social-media-marketing-plan
  • Target audience
  • Civil Society Civil society is a target group in LINKS which comprises citizens, civil society organizations, educational institutions, vulnerable groups, social movement organizations
  • Practitioners Practitioners is a target group in LINKS which comprises local, national and European disaster management organizations, civil protection agencies, first responders, NGOs, security networks...
  • Researchers research institutions and scientific communities
  • Audience experience level
  • Starter Those who are not currently using social media, or the current use is based on providing general information and advice to citizens</br></br>Source: https://www.fp7-emergent.eu/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/20170529_D7.3_Guidelines_to_increase_the_benefit_of_social_media_EmerGent.pdf
  • Disaster Management Phase
  • Before Comprises 'Preparedness Phase' and 'Prevention Phase'</br></br>Preparedness action is carried out within the context of disaster risk management and aims to build the capacities needed to efficiently manage all types of emergencies and achieve orderly transitions from response to sustained recovery.</br></br>Source: https://www.undrr.org/terminology/preparedness</br></br>Prevention (i.e., disaster prevention) expresses the concept and intention to completely avoid potential adverse impacts of hazardous events.</br></br>Source: https://www.undrr.org/terminology/prevention
  • During Also referred to as "Response Phase"</br></br>Actions taken directly before, during or immediately after a disaster in order to save lives, reduce health impacts, ensure public safety and meet the basic subsistence needs of the people affected.</br></br>Annotation: Disaster response is predominantly focused on immediate and short-term needs and is sometimes called disaster relief. Effective, efficient and timely response relies on disaster risk-informed preparedness measures, including the development of the response capacities of individuals, communities, organizations, countries and the international community.</br></br>Source: https://www.undrr.org/terminology/response
  • After Also referred to as 'Recovery Phase'</br></br>The restoring or improving of livelihoods and health, as well as economic, physical, social, cultural and environmental assets, systems and activities, of a disaster-affected community or society, aligning with the principles of sustainable development and “build back better”, to avoid or reduce future disaster risk.</br></br>Source: https://www.undrr.org/terminology/recovery
  • Synopsis

    Guidelines for emergency services & public authorities

    Prepare to start using social media

    • Consider the legal implications
    • Consider the needs in human and financial resources
    • Prepare a social media strategy
    • Clearly communicate the social media strategy and provide staff training
    • Explore what Information Communication Technology (ICT) tools are available for social media monitoring and analysis
    • Use of apps for direct communication (Authorities-to-Citizens and Citizens-to-Authorities)
    • Plan the next steps to start using social media

    Before an emergency

    • Provide information about your organization, its operations and emergency prevention and preparation
    • Raise awareness on the use of social media
    • Use of ICT tools for social media monitoring and analysis
    • Team up with other groups and organizations
    • Publish alerts for the risk of an upcoming emergency

    During an emergency

    • Understand how social media is used by citizens during emergencies
    • Establish communication with the public
    • Request information from the public
    • Use of ICT tools for social media monitoring and analysis
    • Respond to false information and rumors
    • Collaborate with emergent group initiatives

    After an emergency

    • Continue the communication with the citizens
    • Evaluate your social media use during the emergency

    Guidelines for citizens

    General Aspects while using social media

    • Interact with respect and courtesy
    • You are responsible for your writing, think of possible consequences
    • Protect your privacy and check the privacy settings
    • Respect intellectual property rights, including pictures, graphics, audio and video files
    • Verify your information before posting
    • Correct a mistake if you made one

    Before an emergency

    • Be prepared:
    • Know the social media accounts of your local and national ES and follow them. This will help find real-time information during an emergency.
    • Read what to expect from Emergency Services in social media.
    • Follow the information from Emergency Services on how to prevent and stay safe during emergencies

    During an emergency

    • Stay up-to-date and follow official accounts and local organizations to get information updates
    • Social media does not replace 112. If in danger, always call 112 first.
    • Be responsible and avoid spreading rumors!

    When you post information about an emergency in social media:

    • Always mention the Emergency Services account or include any already used hashtags. When possible, report a location and use photos
    • Tell only facts and don’t send information you are not certain about
    • Share only official and reliable information and avoid spreading rumors!
    • If you spot or shared false information, please correct it
    • Forward received official messages to your contacts or share them

    Volunteering initiatives

    • Look for emergent volunteer initiatives in Facebook groups, Google crisis maps or trusted users in Twitter; they may help to increase the impact of your activities!
    • If you intend to initiate your emergent volunteer initiative, please check for existing initiatives first and carefully chose the scope of your possible contribution.

    After an emergency

    • Follow official accounts and local organizations to get information updates
    • Communicate even after a crisis and use social media for the processing of the event
    • Give feedback to the authorities
    • Restore missing contact and ask for welfare of family and friends
    • Help others reconstructing/handling the event

    Data Protection and Privacy Guidelines for Processing Social Media Data


    • Responsibility
      • Project responsibility
      • Who do you answer to?
    • Is what you are proposing lawful?
      • Consent
      • Transparency
      • Special Categories of Personal Data
    • Data rights of the citizen
      • Subject Access Request
      • Right of Erasure
      • Data Portability
    • Project controls
      • Data protection officer
      • Privacy impact assessment
      • Continuous monitoring
    • Infrastructure controls
      • Privacy by design
      • Codes of Conduct
      • Breach handling
      • Subject Access Request handling

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