Home > BLOG 5, Crisis Communication > Blog #5: Community Resilience

Blog #5: Community Resilience

According to Norris and our online reading, an overall disaster readiness strategy is created through the development of four “primary sets of adaptive capacities”. These capacities include, “Economic Development, Social Capital, Information and Communication, and Community Competence.” Now to me, this all looks like a bunch of mumbo jumbo so before we get into the communication techniques aspect of these capacities and how they might be used to create community resilience let’s first define what community resilience is. According to Norris,

“Community resilience is a process linking a network of adaptive capacities (resources with dynamic attributes) to adaptation after a disturbance or diversity.”

OR according to Norris, other individuals have their own way of defining community resilience as well. He references:

My favorite way to define community resilience comes from the document (also pictured in Norris’ work) by Egeland, 1993. They define it as,

“The capacity for successful adaptation, positive functioning, or competence…despite high-risk status, chronic stress, or following prolonged or severe trauma.”

So now with this basic understanding of making a positive recovery from a tragedy we can move on to what communication strategies might be used in doing so. Norris touches on aspects of communication that we have discussed in class in terms of getting a message across. He addresses the importance of correctly relaying correct information, using a trustworthy messenger who reflects the values of the community, and how to relay the information. Norris references September 11, 2001 in identifying strategies for communication. He writes,

“Communication infrastructure is also a valuable resource. On the basis of their experiences in New York  City after the September 11th terrorist attacks, Draper et al. (2006) maintained that it is advantageous for a life-line (or hotline) system to be in place beforehand. These communication systems can be ramped up after the disaster to coordinate and deploy volunteers, and later they provide a central means for the pubic to learn about and access services (see also Norris et al. 2006). Media also can be engaged to publicize available services and educate the public about typical reactions to disaster (e.g., Gist and Stolz 1982; Norris et al. 2006).”

Norris calls attention to the common crisis communication theme of planning beforehand. This helps create order when everything appears to be out of place. Additionally, he references the media as a communication strategy. What better and faster of a way to disperse information than through the media. In class we have discussed television and radio usage but most importantly the use of social media as a communication strategy. Facebook and Twitter are phenomenal means to get a message to the public, and fast.

Now how do all of these add to community resilience? The answer is simple. Through the planning ahead communication strategies not only is restoration much easier to achieve but so is dictating how to restore, what resources are needed, and where to locate them. The strategy of media and more importantly social media enhances these objectives. Additionally, social media can serve as a network to establish advocates in the community, a mean for volunteers to be in the loop, and for those affected by the disaster to find comfort and hope. It is through these strategies that community resilience is able to and can be fully achieved.

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