Social media use in emergency management

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Quick Facts

Publishing Organisation:
Clayton Wukich, Cleveland State University
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:
  • Crowdsourcing Describes a distributed problem-solving model where the task of solving a challenge or developing an idea get “outsourced” to a crowd. It implies tapping into “the wisdom of the crowd”.</br></br>Source:DRS Glossary v2.0 LINKS 181220.xlsx
  • Target audience
  • Researchers research institutions and scientific communities
  • Audience experience level
  • Intermediate Those who currently use social media to communicate with the public and have developed a draft social media strategy, even if this is not thoroughly documented or communicated across the organisation</br></br>Source:
  • Disaster Management Phase
    • Issue: To identify and illustrate the range of strategies and tactics available for emergency managers using social media.
    • This study uses content analysis of more than 80 related journal articles, research reports, and government documents as well as more than 120 newspaper articles, identified through LexisNexis search queries.
    • Three strategies, information dissemination, monitoring real-time data, and engaging the public in a conversation and/or crowdsourcing, are available to emergency managers to augment communication practices via face-to-face contact and through traditional media outlets.
    • Academic research has identified several message types disseminated during response operations.
    • Message types during other emergency phases have received less attention; however, news reporting and government reports provide best practices and inform this study.
    • This article provides the foundation for a more complete typology of emergency management messages. Relatedly, despite limited attention in the academic research, monitoring social media feeds to accrue situational awareness and interacting with others to generate a conversation and/or to coordinate collective action also take place in various forms and are discussed.
    • Findings integrate the fragmented body of knowledge into a more coherent whole and suggest that practitioners might maximize outcomes through a three-step process of information dissemination, data monitoring, and the direct engagement of diverse sets of actors to spur risk reduction efforts.
    • However, these steps require time, personnel, and resources, which present obstacles for agencies operating under conditions of personnel and resource scarcity.

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