Home > BLOG 4, Crisis Communication > Blog 4: Social Media in Crisis

Blog 4: Social Media in Crisis

Though some find social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter to be non-useful, I feel that both are very important tools that can be used during times of crisis or disaster.  Both can deliver messages quickly and easily. These sites have millions of users for a reason: because they work!

As far as Facebook goes, many companies set up a public page that people can “Like”, which allows people to read statuses, events, important information, etc., posted by that company or organization.  In a time of crisis, these posts allow people to learn quickly about the situation and how they should react if necessary.  For example, many pages were set up on Facebook after the Joplin tornado, showing people how they could help donate to the people of Joplin.  Also, many pictures of the tornado were posted on Facebook to keep people up-to-date with just how massive the damage really was.

Twitter is also used during crisis.  Twitter allows way less characters for a post than Facebook does; however, this allows for information to be short and to the point.  If more information is needed, the company/organization can post links onto its twitter posts where additional information can be found.  As a user of Twitter (and Facebook), I can say from personal experience that I learn about disasters and crises through these networks first most of the time.

On the above screenshot from Twitter, a list of FDA recalls are announced to the public.  The great thing about Twitter is that anyone can follow anyone (unless accounts are set to private, but most companies have public accounts).  This allows for users of the site to obtain all the information they want.

  • This video on YouTube features a former Risk Communication Director discussing the importance of government agencies using social media.
  • This video on YouTube shows statistics and reasons for people to “Get on Board” with social media.

Happy Facebooking and Happy Tweeting!       

  1. November 2, 2011 at 9:35 pm

    Good overview and use of disaster-related social media content. But, are the advantages of these social media outlets only that they provide information? If so, are they just improved versions of older, traditional media (TV, radio). Or do they offer some other advantages not found in traditional media?

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