The Use Of Social Media By UK Local Resilience Forums
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D. J. Meaton & L. A. Stringer
The power of the public to capture and share real-time information has been utilised effectively in disaster situations, most notably Haiti, and social media has been important for developing new ‘communities of interest’, exemplified by its role during the Arab Spring. The potential methods of harnessing social media in the field of emergency planning, resilience and response (EPRR) are varied and interesting, and range from its use as a means of sending out public information to new ways of generating and using real-time data. Although the UK government have produced various guidance documents for the use of social media, the professional use of such technology in the UKEPRR field is poorly documented and appears sporadic. This paper presents the results of a survey of Local Resilience Forums in the UK on their use and engagement with social media. The findings suggest that the level of application of social media strategies as emergency planning or response tools varied significantly between the LRFs. While over 90% of respondents claimed that their LRF used social media as part of their strategy, most of this use was reactive or passive, rather than proactive and systematic. The various strategies employed seem to be linked most strongly to local expertise and the existence of social media ‘champions’ rather than to the directives and guidance emerging from government. The paper concludes by making policy recommendations concerning requirements for mandatory social media training within the emergency planning professions. Keywords: social media, crowdmapping, crowdsourcing, emergency planning, resilience, emergency response, local resilience forum.
social media, crowdmapping, crowdsourcing, emergency planning, resilience, emergency response, local resilience forum