Social Media Use in Crisis and Risk Communication: Emergencies, Concerns and Awareness

Open Access Book edited by Harald Hornmoen and Klas Backholm: ” This book is about how different communicators – whether professionals, such as crisis managers, first responders and journalists, or private citizens and disaster victims – have used social media to communicate about risks and crises. It is also about how these very different actors can play a crucial role in mitigating or preventing crises. How can they use social media to strengthen their own and the public’s awareness and understanding of crises when they unfold? How can they use social media to promote resilience during crises and the ability to deal with the after-effects? Moreover, what can they do to avoid using social media in a manner that weakens the situation awareness of crisis workers and citizens, or obstructs effective emergency management?

The RESCUE (Researching Social Media and Collaborative Software Use in Emergency Situations) project, on which this book is based, has sought to enable a more efficient and appropriate use of social media among key communicators, such as journalists and government actors involved in crisis management. Through empirical studies, and by drawing on relevant theory, the collection aims to improve our understanding of how social media have been used in different types of risks and crises. Building on our empirical work, we provide research-based input into how social media can be used efficiently by different communicators in a way appropriate to the specific crisis and to the concerns of the public.

We address our questions by presenting new research-based knowledge on social media use during different crises: the terrorist attacks in Norway on 22 July 2011; the central European floods in Austria in 2013; and the West African Ebola outbreak in 2014. The social media platforms analysed include the most popular ones in the affected areas at the time of the crises: Twitter and Facebook. By addressing such different cases, the book will move the field of crisis communication in social media beyond individual studies towards providing knowledge which is valid across situations….(More)”.