Social Media & Disaster Response

  • How is social media used in disaster response? what is the future of this type of communication? where can it go wrong?

Social media helps people respond faster in times of emergency and also help those affected by the disasters to stay connected. An example of a disaster response app would be Google’s app, Person Finder. “Google person finder is an open source web application that provides a registry and message board for survivors, family, and loved ones affected by a natural disaster to post and search for information about each other’s status and whereabouts. It was created by volunteer Google engineers in response to the 2010 Haiti earthquake”. A lot of people now use social media platforms to report emergencies or to call for help. And they expect government response agencies to be actively engaged in using social media.


Social media platforms allow emergency managers to send information to a much wider audiences than traditional media, interact with the public and monitor social media networks to get a better sense of what’s happening on the ground during an emergency. A few advantages of the use of social media during emergencies include: Social media enable to transform the ways in which emergencies are tracked. Social media are reliable during disasters when other channels are overwhelmed. Social media can self-regulate misinformation in emergencies through the masses. During disasters social media provides access to relevant and timely information. Social media has changed the information dissemination pathways in emergencies. I personally think that social media would be used more frequently in the future, as we are approaching a future where almost everyone has access to technology and the various social media platforms we have today.

Tomisin Adeneye





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