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The Role of Social Media in Crisis Preparedness, Response and Recovery

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Submitted By BoykianMax
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THE ROLE OF SOCIAL MEDIA IN CRISIS PREPAREDNESS, RESPONSE AND RECOVERY
By Jason Christopher Chan (RPO)

Executive Summary
In recent years, social media has exploded as a category of online discourse where people create content, share it, bookmark it and network at a prodigious rate. The five key characteristics of social media: collectivity; connectedness; completeness; clarity and collaboration lend itself to be used increasingly to support crisis management functions. This paper examines the various categories of social media tools to understand how they can be utilised to enhance analytical and response capabilities of organisations for crisis management. The paper identified four main social media functions: (1) information dissemination, (2) disaster planning and training, (3) collaborative problem solving and decision making, and (4) information gathering, which are then mapped onto the three crisis management phases of preparedness, response and recovery to describe how a range of social media tools may be used to enhance crisis communications. Case examples of international organisations and governments using social media for crisis management are shared. The paper proposes a framework to enhance government use of social media for crisis management that encompasses the need for a mandate, differentiated guidelines and three key capabilities to be developed.

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Introduction 1. Crisis management is a critical organisational function that involves planning and dynamic incident response to situations as they unfold, often in unpredictable ways. The cascading effects of an unfolding crisis can undermine a country’s ability to operate effectively and may result in serious harm to its people, structures, assets and reputation. 2. The advent of a plethora of social media tools has changed the landscape of crisis management considerably over recent years…...

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