Authorities Improve their Tweets in Disasters

Added by on April 2, 2011

Australian emergency authorities and media experts are due to meet in Brisbane next week to discuss ways in which social media can better be used in disasters.

In the aftermath of recent disasters, including the Queensland floods and the Christchurch earthquake, the significance of social networking sites, including Facebook and Twitter,  soon became apparent, but it also highlighted the occurrence of misinformation being spread.

In response, the Brisbane symposium has been designed to bring together emergency authorities and media to look at what could be improved in using social media during disasters.

Researcher Dr Jean Burgess at the Queensland University of Technology said that Twitter, for instance, was much more effective following the earthquake in Christchurch than it was during the Queensland floods, because the decision to create a Twitter hashtag for official information was taken very soon after the quake.

“Within two to three days, there was a coordinated flow of recovery information among local residents, including everything from accommodation to port-a-loos,” Burgess said.

The symposium is scheduled for Monday at the State Library of Queensland.