Home > BLOG 4, Crisis Communication > Blog #4: Use of Social Media during Disaster Response

Blog #4: Use of Social Media during Disaster Response

Ask anyone what the fastest way to get information out to the public today would be. The responses would vary from radio to television to Internet. All of these are great means of communication, however one of the key components of this last option sets it apart from the others… and that component is social media. Even more specific is the public’s increasing use and dependability on the social media outlets of Facebook and Twitter.

Below is a screen shot taken directly from Facebook’s statistics page where the organization goes into detail about it’s users and global reach.

And as for Twitter, the details are revealed in this article by the Huffington Post. Assuming you were doubting their reach before…think again. In fact these two forms of social media have already proven effective in disaster response before. From the destruction of the Joplin tornado to the Japan earthquake Twitter and Facebook have already served as heroes to these communities.

As for the future of these social media communication methods and their role in disaster response, organizations such as the Red Cross and FEMA could encourage the public to create a Twitter or Facebook and to follow their pages. Through following these accounts the public would not only be able to stay in the loop for their own safety reasons but additionally to follow relief efforts, ways to donate, and to establish a sense of community for victims and the survivors. Social media has proven to serve as a lifeline to many in the past and will continue to be an important means in the future.


  1. November 2, 2011 at 9:00 pm

    Would have liked more of your thoughts on how social media can actually be used in disaster response. You link to the Joplin and Japan articles, but provide some overview of what those say or some distillation of how social media can be used in disasters. Linking is good and necessary, but your post also needs to provide information on its own.

    Your second to last sentence on ways to engage during the disaster response is a good start, but could have use much more.

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