Home > BLOG 4, Crisis Communication > Blog 4: Twitter and Facebook during Crises

Blog 4: Twitter and Facebook during Crises

The use of social media sites during a crises is a fairly new concept since the popularity of these sites has grown enormously in the last 4 years, with about 75% of all users have joined since 2009. Since these social medias are widely used, it would by advantageous for users use them during times when communication through television, radio, or cell service would not suffice. During a crises, some of these mediums are not always the best way to receive information, nor are they the ones with the most up-to-date and accurate information. This is where these social media sites come in to play. They would be helpful for people that are inside a crisis or immediately outside of a crisis area to update friends or followers on exactly what has occurred. The use of Facebook and Twitter would help reach a large amount of people very quickly to explain to others what the circumstances of the crisis are. During the Japan earthquakes, one article talked about a relative in London talking with her niece who was inside a building during the initial earthquake. The article continued that the aunt was able to tell the rest of the family that her niece was safe and ok before the niece was able to call them.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/twitter/8379101/Japan-earthquake-how-Twitter-and-Facebook-helped.html

The use of these media sites would be widely advantageous during times like this because in most cases cell service is either damaged or too crowded with other traffic to connect calls. Twitter and Facebook would be easier, faster outlets for people who are affected by crises to post about what is going on. I know personally, when any type of event has occurred, Twitter and Facebook are the first two places that I check for news updates. A few months back, a KHL Russian Hockey team was riding on a jet to a neighboring city for the open of the KHL season. Their plane had technical difficulties and crashed, killing all of the players and most of the staff in the aftermath. After hearing what had happened on Facebook, I immediately brought up my Twitter page to check the NHL Twitter name to see what had happened. As it turns out, the NHL Twitter feed had already posted how many players and who exactly was on the team before any news outlets (ESPN, NHL Network, etc.) could even give any details. This goes to show that events happening thousands of miles away on a different continent, can be reported on via social media websites before actual news reporting can be done.

This type of event can be catastrophic for many people, but the use of social medias can help people outside of the crises determine what has happened, how to handle the situation, and give specific details of who/what was invovled.

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  1. November 3, 2011 at 4:01 pm

    Good overview. But doesn’t traditional media (TV, radio) also give information about what happened during a disaster? So is social media just traditional media that is faster? Or is there something more to it?

    Also, embed your link in the text so that they are active (you can click on them) and so we don’t see the entire link.

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