Social Media in Times of Crisis: The Australian Perspective
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Social Media in Times of Crisis: The Australian Perspective

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Paper presented at a Project EPIC symposium, Boulder, 23 Oct 2013.

Paper presented at a Project EPIC symposium, Boulder, 23 Oct 2013.

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  • 1. Social Media in Times of Crisis: The Australian Perspective Associate Professor Axel Bruns Queensland University of Technology Brisbane, Australia @snurb_dot_info | http://mappingonlinepublics.net/
  • 2. CRISIS COMMUNICATION RESEARCH AT QUT o ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries & Innovation (national, based at QUT) o Project: Media Ecologies & Methodological Innovation o New methods to understand the changing media environment o Role of social media, especially Twitter http://mappingonlinepublics.net/ o Project: Social Media in Times of Crisis o Focus on crisis communication o Partnerships with Queensland Department of Community Safety, Eidos Institute http://cci.edu.au/floodsreport.pdf
  • 3. THE 2011 QUEENSLAND FLOODS • Chronology: – December 2010 to January 2011: unprecedented rainfall • Emergency declared for more than 50% of Queensland • Wivenhoe dam reaches 180% capacity – December 2010: Flooding in northern Queensland – January 2011: Floods in southeast Queensland • • • • 10 January 2011: flash flooding in Toowoomba 10 January 2011: „inland tsunami‟ in the Lockyer Valley 11 January 2011: flooding begins in Ipswich 12-16 January 2011: major flooding in Brisbane – January 2013: further minor flooding in parts of Brisbane
  • 4. (ABC News)
  • 5. (ABC News)
  • 6. (news.com.au)
  • 7. (ABC News)
  • 8. (ABC News)
  • 9. 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
  • 10. INFORMATION DISSEMINATION
  • 11. 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)
  • 12. #QLDFLOODS 2011: MOST VISIBLE USERS
  • 13. #QLDFLOOD(S) 2013: MOST VISIBLE USERS
  • 14. #EQNZ: VISIBILITY OF LEADING ACCOUNTS IN EACH EVENT
  • 15. MESSAGE AMPLIFICATION ON TWITTER
  • 16. JUST THE FACTS: SELECTIVE RETWEETING
  • 17. WHAT LINKS ARE SHARED?
  • 18. CRISIS EVENT COMPARISON #qldfloods 2011 #qldfloods 2013 #eqnz 2011 #eqnz 2013
  • 19. INFORMATION DISCOVERY
  • 20. 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?
  • 21. #QLDFLOODS FROM TOOWOOMBA TO BRISBANE 10 Jan 2011 11 Jan 2011 12 Jan 2011 13 Jan 2011 14 Jan 2011 15 Jan 2011
  • 22. #EQNZ: KEY THEMES
  • 23. #EQNZ: MENTIONS OF THE CTV BUILDING Graph: Avijit Paul (@cdtavijit); see Paul & Bruns (2013)
  • 24. 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
  • 25. http://mappingonlinepublics.net/ @snurb_dot_info @jeanburgess @dpwoodford @lena_sauter @timhighfield @cdtavijit @socialmediaQUT – http://socialmedia.qut.edu.au/