Master’s Report: Preliminary Observations of Government Social Media Use During the Stages of Disaster


Communities have come to rely on technology to enhance public safety and communication during disasters. With nearly one-third of online adults receiving information from government organizations using digital tools other than websites, it is no surprise that increasingly government organizations are leveraging social media to push out information to their communities. My interest in the topic of government use of social media during disasters began when I began managing social media platforms for a city emergency medical services system. My hope for the research is to reveal how government organizations are using social media for emergency management and to discover what they have learned. This paper reviews literature about community use of social media during various stages of disasters, and includes findings from interviews with five government organizations regarding their social media use during emergency events. The goal of the research is to develop a deeper conversation among government and emergency management professionals to establish a direction for further research. Eventually, this ongoing research will better quantify the value of social media use by government organizations during disasters so they can make informed decisions on how government can best utilize social media platforms.

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