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How do emergency managers use social media platforms?

DeeDee M. Bennett, PhD


Social media platforms are increasingly becoming a useful tool for victims, humanitarians, volunteers, and the general public to communicate during disasters. Research has shown that there are multiple advantages to using social media and the applicability of these platforms crosses several different types of disasters (human-caused, natural, and terrorist) here in the United States and abroad. However, some emergency management agencies have been reluctant to use social media as one of their many communications tools. In this study, the usefulness of social media for emergency management was examined over a 30-day period following a series of tornadoes. Using an observational approach, the public posts disseminated from an emergency management agency were analyzed to determine how two social media platforms were used. The findings show how emergency management agencies could leverage the connectedness of social media to reach victims and make unlikely partnerships.


social media, emergency management, communications

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