SOCIAL MEDIA DURING MULTI-HAZARD DISASTERS: LESSONS FROM THE KAIKOURA EARTHQUAKE 2016
Free (open access)
Volume 7 (2017), Issue 3
313 - 323
BRIONY GRAY, MARK J. WEAL & DAVID MARTIN
Social media provides channels of communication during emergency events such as earthquakes. Such sites may be utilised for a range of emergency response strategies providing that data is processed rapidly and management strategies employed effectively. The processing of social media data presents many challenges for emergency responders: information overload, organisational communication and information reliability remain prevalent issues. Furthermore, there is a growing need to improve the management of multi-hazard disasters (sometimes referred to as ‘cascading disasters’) due to an increase in their frequency and severity, exacerbated by underlying global problems such as climate change. This is especially important to geographical regions that are prone to particular hazards – New Zealand for instance recorded nearly 33,000 earthquakes in 2016 alone. Similarly, there is an increasing need to evaluate developments in technology and social media sites themselves as they are progressively being relied upon during emergency events. In this study, we examine the crisis communications of the Kaikoura earthquake (New Zealand, 2016) using mainstream media content such as new stories, and online content such as Twitter data. A mixed method approach was employed, which combined content analysis with the application of a conceptual framework. The paper then presents (i) an analysis of crisis communications during the event, focusing on changes in media content and theme, (ii) the structure of online emergency response in the country and its affect on management and (iii) the barriers effecting emergency response in this case study.
conceptual framework, content analysis, disaster management, earthquake, emergency response, multi-hazard disaster, social media