Home > BLOG 4, Crisis Communication > Blog 4: Facebook and Twitter for disaster communication

Blog 4: Facebook and Twitter for disaster communication

Facebook and Twitter seem to be the quickest way organizations like FEMA can send and receive news during disasters.  More and more people seem to have smartphones in this day and age, and therefore have access to internet and social media sites like Facebook and Twitter 24/7.  There are even Facebook and Twitter applications on these smartphones that allow users to press a button on their phone screen that quickly directs them to Facebook or Twitter.  There is never a dull moment or a day that someone with a smartphone goes without hearing the last updates, especially if that person is subscribed to a certain organization.

The best way to get people to receive urgent information quickly is to let them know where the best place is to find that information.  Whether they need to “like” a certain Facebook page or “follow” a certain organization on Twitter, that information needs to be communicated to the public before a disaster strikes, so that when it does strike, they know where they need to turn to for the most updated information.  As Rebecca Ford of The Hollywood Reporter says,

Cell phone networks can crash during an emergency, while social media is considered a more reliable form of communication.

She goes on to say that Twitter users learned of tremors seconds before feeling them on the East Coast.  To learn more about this topic go to http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/hurricane-irene-fema-urges-people-227765.

FEMA’s Facebook Page has important information that one might need to know when preparing for a disaster or if someone were to be a victim of a disaster.  FEMA also has daily tweets that one could view to get updated information about disasters.  Below is an image of what the official FEMA Twitter page looks like.

FEMA

FEMA

@fema Washington, DC
This channel provides FEMA mission-related information. For emergencies, call your local fire/EMS/police or 9-1-1.
For more information on FEMA, you can “like” Federal Emergency Management Agency on Facebook or “follow” FEMA on Twitter.
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  1. November 2, 2011 at 8:54 pm

    So are Twitter and Facebook better at getting people information than TV and radio? Why is this exactly? What advantages do these social media offer over more traditional media? Is it just that they provide disaster information, or is it something more?

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