The importance of a whole of community approach to using social media for disaster resilience and how the Emergency 2.0 Wiki can help

Eileen Culleton

Abstract


Social media offers the potential to play a transformative role in making disaster resilience a social norm. Social media can help communities create a level of resilience that ensures they don’t just ‘bounce back’ after a disaster, but ‘bounce forward’, becoming stronger with increased social networks, social cohesion and social capital. This requires a ‘whole of community’ approach to using social media for disaster resilience, in which the community becomes partners in disaster resilience. Along with emergency services, government, NGOs, schools, hospitals, community groups, business, media and citizens can all play a role in using social media to prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters.

Despite the rising popularity of using social media in disasters, it is still not a normal part of mainstream emergency communications globally. Also there are few instances where a whole of community approach is applied. What is needed is capacity building by providing the ‘know how’ for using the new technologies in the disaster context, and empowerment by providing access to the tools to enable the community to help themselves and help each other. 

The Emergency 2.0 Wiki, a free global online resource for using social media and new technologies in emergencies, is helping close this knowledge gap and increase the takeup of social media for community resilience. The wiki provides tips, guides, mobile apps, mapping tools, videos, accessibility toolkit and an international directory of emergency agencies on social media. It has tips for citizens and guidelines for emergency services, governments, schools, hospitals, community groups and business.

An initiative of the Government 2.0 in Queensland Community of Practice in Australia and lead by international reference groups of professionals from key industry sectors, wiki content is developed through a collaborative knowledge sharing model, crowdsourcing the latest technology and best practices.


Keywords


Social media; community resilience; community empowerment; disaster resilience

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