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Risk communication and social media: Are we ready?

Beneito-Montagut, Roser ORCID:, Anson, Su, Shaw, Duncan and Brewster, Christopher 2013. Risk communication and social media: Are we ready? Presented at: 11th ESA conference: Crisis, Critique and Change, Turin, Italy, 28-31 August 2013.

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The possibility of crowdsourced information, multi-geographical and multi-organisational information flows during emergencies and crisis provided by social media is facing emergency managers with new communication challenges and opportunities. Building on the literature about risk communication and social media and based on interviews with experts from six European countries this article explores how governmental agencies are using social media in emergency situations. The research gives answer to which risk communication functions do SM support. Risk communication has used traditional media (TV, news papers, radio) to communicate with the public. The public is massively using social media, and social media allows a two-way communication between agencies and public, and across agencies. Today it is difficult for authorities to be the first informer as there is always somebody with a mobile phone ready to take a picture and tweet it. When communities are at risk disorganised behaviour can take place, and rumours spread through the internet quick and easily. Besides, people, or other stakeholders, can feel excluded from decisions that affect them if agencies do not provide them a mechanism and framework within which they can articulate their concerns. By scrutinizing how these organisations are using, or not, social media the paper contributes to the research on risk communication, specifically to the approach that promotes risk communication as a two-way process in which both ‘expert’ and ‘lay’ perspectives should inform each other. Social media appears to have engendered new paradigms of public engagement and communication across agencies.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Date Type: Completion
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Last Modified: 28 Oct 2022 08:40

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