The Use of Social Media in Emergency Management

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The Use of Social Media in Emergency Communication

Over the recent years, the use of social media has marked the technological phase and in the modern world and has increased dramatically in the emergency community especially in disasters. Social media is an effective tool for disseminating and conveying information in a faster way and to a wider base of audience. Tools such as the use of social media can be used by humanitarian agencies as well as the government when formulating the preparedness, recovery, and response by sending warnings and alerts. Social media plays a critical role in communication to the public and helps in monitoring the public interactions (Wukich, 2016). The use of a complementary mix of the social media tools that function together does not overwhelm the sustainability of resources. The engagement of the community through the use of social media as well as the influence of hashtags has helped to improve the communication and conveyance of emergency responses amongst the digital community.

Strategies for Effective Use of Social Media in Emergency Management

The use of social media incorporates strategies of testing and evaluating capabilities, development and sharing of interactive crisis and is used as a tool for tracking, analyzing and storing messages. The public has been empowered to submit damage reports, eyewitness accounts and videos which directly influence emergency management. The leverage of power of the dynamic images play a role in improving the message interest and has been influenced by the new technology. Social media sites are known to coordinates the efforts regionally (Paton & Johnston, 2017). The most effective practices in adopting new technology of disseminating information entail a mix of social media tools, staffing, strategies in support of the organization’s leadership. The appraisal of new technologies and learning from the experiences of other organizations test the strategies for improving the potential for success.

The Role of the Community in Emergency Response

The whole approach of FEMA in emergency management is the accessibility of families, individuals, and communities in the participation of emergency response. The emergency managers need to work together with the community as one team in order to be effective in response to emergencies. The perspective of viewing the public as a resource instead of an encumbrance has eased the network on the management of emergencies (Conrado, Woodworth, & O’Riordan, 2016). Communication which surrounds a disaster is critical and a mission for saving lives. Social media acts as the necessary tool that closes on the communication gap and the active participation in a current conversation. Social media facilitates a two-way communication between the public and the agencies concerned with emergency management by allowing quick and specific sharing of information.

FEMA's Use of Social Media in Emergency Management

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) utilizes the social media technology to disseminate critical information on disaster management and preparedness as well as reach out to the masses where such information may be deemed useful. The use social media channels are effective tools used in communication. Since no specific platform is all incorporative nor exhaustive, it allows all people to communicate with the masses before, during and after a disaster takes place. FEMA has located social media resources such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube in communicating with the public (Conrado, Woodworth, & O’Riordan, 2016). For instance, the Facebook page of FEMA has more than 100, 000 followers who get recent updates on the existing conditions and the preparedness tips through videos, photos, and text. The users and the public can view videos that explain the response of FEMA and the recovery efforts through the YouTube page. The channel also contains short clips with topics like preparedness for disaster kits, what to do and where to go in the occurrence of an emergency and ways of applying for disaster aid.

Harnessing the Power of Hashtags in Emergency Management

Twitter has followed topics on the conversations which are of interest and have developed a following "hashtag". The hashtag is mainly a topic of a common conversation which spreads amongst a group of people or even a community. The social media in management for emergencies allows the public connect and discuss as well as enjoin the disaster management at the local, national, and federal levels. It also incorporates the private sector institutions, technology volunteers, and the partisan individuals. The hashtags in Twitter allow a partnership of emergency managers, for instance, FEMA and the American Red Cross which created the hashtag #howihelp, #kidsfiresafety, #imprepared among others (Teodorescu, 2015). The hashtag, #imprepared for instance was used to encourage families and individuals get prepared for emergencies while the #kidsfiresafety was used in a partnership of FEMA and the Red Cross society to encourage parents to exercise the fire safety tips.

Advantages of Social Media in Disaster Communication

Social media is a version of the new technology and has eliminated the barriers to communication. Moreover, it has translation keys which help people from different language settings communicate easily and fast, without the need for an interpreter. The use of social media has helped to bring the communication distance and has made it easy for the public and communities communicate effectively even without accessing the individual contacts of the emergency managers. It is, therefore, an effective way of disseminating information and is cheaper. The federal, private entities, emergency managers, and well-wishers can respond to disasters and emergencies rapidly without really going through many procedures.


Conrado, S. P., Neville, K., Woodworth, S., & O’Riordan, S. (2016). Managing social media uncertainty to support the decision-making process during emergencies. Journal of Decision Systems, 25(sup1), 171-181.

Paton, D., & Johnston, D. (2017). Disaster resilience: an integrated approach. Charles C Thomas Publisher.

Teodorescu, H. N. (2015). Using analytics and social media for monitoring and mitigation of social disasters. Procedia Engineering, 107, 325-334.

Wukich, C. (2016). Social media use in emergency management. Journal of Emergency Management, 13(4), 281-294.

October 30, 2023


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Emergency Management

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