From #qldfloods to #sandy:
Engaging with the Public
during Crisis Events
Assoc. Prof. Axel Bruns
ARC Centre of Excellence ...
SOCIAL MEDIA DURING CRISES
• Various platforms:
– Facebook, Twitter – updates and information
– YouTube, Flickr, Twitpic –...
CRISIS COMMUNICATION RESEARCH AT QUT
• ARC Centre of Excellence for
Creative Industries & Innovation
(national, based at Q...
KEY CHALLENGES IN CRISIS COMMUNICATION
• Information dissemination:
– Crisis communication strategies of emergency service...
INFORMATION DISSEMINATION
THE QUEENSLAND FLOODS COMMUNITY
• Self-organisation:
– Rapid establishment of #qldfloods hashtag
– Ad hoc development of c...
#QLDFLOODS TWEETS
10 Jan 2011 11 Jan 2011 12 Jan 2011 13 Jan 2011 14 Jan 2011 15 Jan 2011
#QLDFLOODS @MENTIONS
mainstream
media
authorities
#EQNZ @MENTIONS (22 FEB. 2011)
mainstream media
authorities
utilities
RETWEETS: MESSAGE AMPLIFICATION
JUST THE FACTS: SELECTIVE RETWEETING
WHAT LINKS ARE SHARED?
#SANDY: URLS, PHOTOS, VIDEOS
#SANDY: RUMOURS, FAKES, MISINFORMATION?
MISINFORMATION ON SOCIAL MEDIA
• Concerns over misinformation:
– Rumours and fakes do circulate
– But: community addresses...
INFORMATION DISCOVERY
KEY CHALLENGES
• Identification:
– Unforeseen events: need to track more than keywords („big data‟)
– Potential to identif...
10 Jan 2011 11 Jan 2011 12 Jan 2011 13 Jan 2011 14 Jan 2011 15 Jan 2011
#QLDFLOODS FROM TOOWOOMBA TO BRISBANE
#EQNZ: KEY THEMES
#EQNZ: MENTIONS OF THE CTV BUILDING
Graph: Avijit Paul
(@cdtavijit); see
Paul & Bruns (2013)
COMMONPATTERNS
(Bruns & Stieglitz, 2012)
SOCIAL MEDIA AND CRISIS COMMUNICATION
• Social media research:
– Develop better tools and metrics for evaluating social me...
MAINTAINING MOMENTUM
• Crisis communication across multiple events:
– What happens to accounts once the acute crisis phase...
#EQNZ: VISIBILITY OF LEADING ACCOUNTS IN EACH EVENT
http://mappingonlinepublics.net/
@snurb_dot_info
@jeanburgess
@dpwoodford
@lena_sauter
@timhighfield
@cdtavijit
@socialmed...
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From #qldfloods to #sandy: Engaging with the Public during Crisis Events

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Paper presented at Social Media Communication Strategies in Government 2013, Brisbane, 17 Sep. 2013.

Published in: Technology, Business
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From #qldfloods to #sandy: Engaging with the Public during Crisis Events

  1. 1. From #qldfloods to #sandy: Engaging with the Public during Crisis Events Assoc. Prof. Axel Bruns ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation Queensland University of Technology Brisbane, Australia a.bruns@qut.edu.au / @snurb_dot_info http://mappingonlinepublics.net/ / http://socialmedia.qut.edu.au/
  2. 2. SOCIAL MEDIA DURING CRISES • Various platforms: – Facebook, Twitter – updates and information – YouTube, Flickr, Twitpic – first-hand video and photos – Google Maps, Ushahidi – map-based information mashups  Different tools for different purposes • Various levels of maturity: – Uses and use practices still developing – Different demographic reach • Technological differences: – e.g. Facebook: built around personal networks; semi-private; discussion threads – e.g. Twitter: open, flat network; public #hashtag conversations; update stream
  3. 3. CRISIS COMMUNICATION RESEARCH AT QUT • ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries & Innovation (national, based at QUT) – Project: Media Ecologies & Methodological Innovation • New methods to understand the changing media environment • Role of social media, especially Twitter http://mappingonlinepublics.net/ – Project: Social Media in Times of Crisis • Focus on crisis communication • Partnerships with Queensland Department of Community Safety, Eidos Institute http://cci.edu.au/floodsreport.pdf
  4. 4. KEY CHALLENGES IN CRISIS COMMUNICATION • Information dissemination: – Crisis communication strategies of emergency services / emergency media organisations – Evaluating effectiveness and resonance – Maintaining public visibility of social media accounts outside of acute crisis situations • Information discovery: – (Early) detection of crisis events in social media feeds – Identification and evaluation of crisis-relevant information – Correlation of crowdsourced information with other crisis data
  5. 5. INFORMATION DISSEMINATION
  6. 6. THE QUEENSLAND FLOODS COMMUNITY • Self-organisation: – Rapid establishment of #qldfloods hashtag – Ad hoc development of community structures – Highlighting of leading accounts, vigilant against disruption – Suspension of petty squabbles (e.g. state politics) • Innovation and rapid prototyping: – Adjunct hashtags (#Mythbuster, #bakedrelief) – Sharing and gathering of online resources – Additional tools (Google Maps, Ushahidi Maps) – Emergency services rapidly adopting social media tools (despite lack of established strategies)  „Go where they are‟ rather than „build it and they will come‟  See CCI Report: #qldfloods and @QPSMedia: Crisis Communication on Twitter in the 2011 South East Queensland Floods (http://cci.edu.au/floodsreport.pdf)
  7. 7. #QLDFLOODS TWEETS 10 Jan 2011 11 Jan 2011 12 Jan 2011 13 Jan 2011 14 Jan 2011 15 Jan 2011
  8. 8. #QLDFLOODS @MENTIONS mainstream media authorities
  9. 9. #EQNZ @MENTIONS (22 FEB. 2011) mainstream media authorities utilities
  10. 10. RETWEETS: MESSAGE AMPLIFICATION
  11. 11. JUST THE FACTS: SELECTIVE RETWEETING
  12. 12. WHAT LINKS ARE SHARED?
  13. 13. #SANDY: URLS, PHOTOS, VIDEOS
  14. 14. #SANDY: RUMOURS, FAKES, MISINFORMATION?
  15. 15. MISINFORMATION ON SOCIAL MEDIA • Concerns over misinformation: – Rumours and fakes do circulate – But: community addresses and counters misinformation (unless obviously fake, and humorous) – Majority of the most-shared #sandy images were legitimate (cf. The Guardian) • Addressing misinformation: – Monitor, engage, and counteract – e.g. #mythbuster – Enlist community in fighting misinformation – Encourage and acknowledge constructive behaviour • Rumours: – Not all rumours are detrimental – Rumours keep a community together, sensitise it for bad news to come – Rumours can help encourage people to make preparations “just in case”
  16. 16. INFORMATION DISCOVERY
  17. 17. KEY CHALLENGES • Identification: – Unforeseen events: need to track more than keywords („big data‟) – Potential to identify emerging events from overall activity patterns • Evaluation: – Real? Hoax? Metaphor (“the bank has collapsed”)? – May need semantic analysis, user profiling, independent verification • Incorporation: – Correlation and integration with standard emergency data sources – Timeframes: how long until crowdsourced information expires?
  18. 18. 10 Jan 2011 11 Jan 2011 12 Jan 2011 13 Jan 2011 14 Jan 2011 15 Jan 2011 #QLDFLOODS FROM TOOWOOMBA TO BRISBANE
  19. 19. #EQNZ: KEY THEMES
  20. 20. #EQNZ: MENTIONS OF THE CTV BUILDING Graph: Avijit Paul (@cdtavijit); see Paul & Bruns (2013)
  21. 21. COMMONPATTERNS (Bruns & Stieglitz, 2012)
  22. 22. SOCIAL MEDIA AND CRISIS COMMUNICATION • Social media research: – Develop better tools and metrics for evaluating social media communication – In-depth analysis of communication patterns reveals how social media are used – Real-time analytics: highlight key current issues, identify weak signals of crisis – Monitor and improve effectiveness of social media communication strategies by emergency services • Social media uses: – Inform, share, amplify, support, reassure, organise – Need to track and work with user community: follow their conventions (e.g. #eqnz hashtag) – Two-way communication where feasible – more than broadcast messages – Provide community with tools to self-organise for resilience
  23. 23. MAINTAINING MOMENTUM • Crisis communication across multiple events: – What happens to accounts once the acute crisis phase is over? – Which social media platforms are best for immediate dissemination, which for community organisation and resilience? – How do different events compare in their social media patterns and needs? • Formalisation of social media practices: – Where / how are social media units positioned within emergency management organisations? – How can experiences be shared across the emergency management sector? – Is there a need for standardisation of structures, policies, tools? – How can innovation be fostered, evaluated, mainstreamed? • Further research: – Need to document experiences, share knowledge, develop new initiatives – E.g. ARC Linkage project “Social Media in Times of Crisis” (QUT / DCS / Eidos Institute) – E.g. QUT Centre for Emergency and Disaster Management – How else can we help?
  24. 24. #EQNZ: VISIBILITY OF LEADING ACCOUNTS IN EACH EVENT
  25. 25. http://mappingonlinepublics.net/ @snurb_dot_info @jeanburgess @dpwoodford @lena_sauter @timhighfield @cdtavijit @socialmediaQUT
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