Crisis information through social media

Today it’s hard to write a blog post that does not focus on the tragic events in Brussels. It’s hard to find the right words though – any words at all actually.

But I will follow up on yesterdays blog post – about the benefits of using twitter as an academic – and briefly reflect on the role of social media when things like this happen. I myself first realized something had happened in Brussels from twitter – and quickly found out more from other news sites.

The Belgian Federal Crisis Centre e.g. keeps their web page up to date, but also continuously tweet important information for everyone in Brussels and outside (in many languages!):

They use this info graphic with contact information, and instructions (e.g. to stay at home, and to let children stay at school) to guide people through this crisis. One recommendation is e.g. to avoid using the telephone unless absolutely necessary, and to communicate using text messages or social media to let your loved ones know you are safe.

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Frequently asked questions are also available in several languages, and refer to both facebook and twitter as important sources of up-to-date information.

Social media is today an essential means to communicate and spread information in crisis situations. This is of course not only relevant for terrorism and violence, but also for other situations such as natural disasters [1]. Yet another important reason to use social media, although one we can all hope we will not need to utilize in the future.

[1] Tomer SimonAvishay GoldbergBruria Adini. Socializing in emergencies—A review of the use of social media in emergency situations. International Journal of Information Management, Volume 35, Issue 5, October 2015, Pages 609–619

[post 21 in the #blogg100 challenge]

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