Leveraging social media throughout a disaster

New framework will help native emergency managers get the phrase out

During a disaster, many individuals flip to social media looking for info. But speaking throughout disasters is difficult, particularly utilizing an interactive atmosphere like social media the place misinformation can unfold simply.

Now, University of Georgia researchers have developed a social media software to raised assist native emergency managers disperse info to neighborhood members throughout a disaster.

Dionne Mitcham

Led by latest graduate Dionne Mitcham, a group from the Institute for Disaster Management at UGA’s College of Public Health has developed a communication framework that native emergency managers might undertake to assist disaster communications.

The proposed framework is a spoke-and-wheel design that makes use of community-based public info officers (PIO), emergency administration professionals, and/or educated volunteers to speak info from the operations group and command and management group to the general public, conventional media and different stakeholders.

The framework goals to help native emergency administration companies that lack entry to sources state and federal emergency administration organizations sometimes have, corresponding to danger communicators, social media strategists and full-time PIOs.

“There is a lack of both communication frameworks and guidance on the use of social media as a crisis communication tool that was tailored specifically for use on the local level,” stated Mitcham. “The framework uniquely leverages local emergency management agencies’ close relationships with stakeholders to help amplify the distribution of uniform disaster-related messaging via social media.”

Incorporating social media into a neighborhood emergency administration division’s communication plan permits emergency managers and PIOs to straight interact in fast info sharing with the general public. This improves the effectivity of data dispersal and prevents potential misrepresentation of data because of the info being posted straight from the supply, stated the authors.

Local emergency administration departments have a novel alternative to ascertain and nurture relationships inside a neighborhood earlier than disaster strikes. These relationships assist to achieve the entire neighborhood when a disaster occurs.

Morgan Taylor 22

Morgan Taylor

“By collaborating with diverse community organizations, the hub framework assists local governments in understanding and meeting the actual needs of the whole community in real time. Formalizing these partnerships prior to a disaster ensures that all members of the community will receive urgent information,” stated co-author Morgan Taylor, a doctoral pupil within the division of epidemiology and biostatistics and analysis assistant with the Institute for Disaster Management.

There are pitfalls with regards to utilizing social media. Platforms are usually not designed to assist emergency response and disaster communication: Messages containing essential info can get misplaced within the inflow of messages. False info can unfold rapidly. Sometimes totally different neighborhood stakeholders can have conflicting messages.

“My co-authors and I hope local emergency managers and their teams use this article as a starting point for considering how to get stakeholders involved in the distribution of crisis communications. In addition, we want to show that uniform distribution of communication messages via social media can be utilized at any level of emergency management – from local to federal,” stated Mitcham.

The full framework is detailed within the group’s paper, revealed within the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.

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