Topic Collection Cover Page

Social Media in Emergency Response
Topic Collection
February 28, 2018

Topic Collection: Social Media in Emergency Response

The use and impact of social media platforms (e.g., Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Snapchat, and YouTube) has skyrocketed over the past decade and has significantly supplemented—if not nearly replaced—more traditional means of communication in many areas of the U.S.. There are two primary ways that emergency managers engage in social media: posting information for public knowledge (e.g., road closures, shelter locations, and weather updates) and gleaning information to help allocate resources. Recent disasters have highlighted the level to which survivors and responders use social media to communicate about issues such as: their status and location, the effect of the disaster on their surroundings, where and how to locate shelter and supplies, how to report to areas that need volunteer support (and how to make donations over the internet), and strategies for obtaining medical care. In addition to building community relationships and setting expectations pre-disaster, planners can use social media to identify and monitor potential threats to public health, and communicate with residents about threats (e.g., infectious disease), pending incidents (e.g., severe weather), and the location and availability of services (e.g., shelters and points of distribution). Tools such as crowdsourcing (collecting information from a large group of people via the Internet) and data mining bolster these efforts. Because the nature of social media changes so frequently and is used for a wide variety of purposes, the ASPR TRACIE Team narrowed our search results to include lessons learned and promising practices from incidents within the past decade and actionable resources specific to our audience.

We understand that lessons are still being collated from recent events (e.g., mass violence incidents, hurricanes, and wildfires). We encourage you to share your resources with us for consideration; we will update this Topic Collection as new resources are published.  

Access the following ASPR TRACIE Topic Collections for additional, related information: Communication Systems; Cybersecurity; Emergency Public Information and Warning/ Risk Communications; Information Sharing; and Virtual Medical Care.

Each resource in this Topic Collection is placed into one or more of the following categories (click on the category name to be taken directly to that set of resources). Resources marked with an asterisk (*) appear in more than one category. 

Must Reads


Ambinder, E., Jennings, D., Blachman-Biatch, I., et al. (2013). The Resilient Social Network. @OccupySandy #SuperstormSandy. Homeland Security Studies and Analysis Institute.
The authors researched and developed a case study on the impact of the group "Occupy Sandy" (which grew from the Occupy Wall Street movement), the Twitter handle "@OccupySandy" and hashtag "#SuperStormSandy” used to share information about the storm via social media. Overall, the group helped mobilize volunteers, identify community needs in near real time, and share information; recommendations for future use of social media as a tool in emergency management are provided.
Rate:
Favorite:
You must Login to add a comment
  • This item doesn't have any comments
This basic checklist can help emergency planners create a social media plan. It includes steps to take before, during, and after a disaster and links to social media platform pages for more information.
Rate:
Favorite:
You must Login to add a comment
  • This item doesn't have any comments
The author explains how crowdsourcing, social media monitoring, and other tools can help disaster responders quickly collect information and tailor their on-ground response. These tools can also help volunteers contribute online or help onsite. Links to several tools are provided.
Rate:
Favorite:
You must Login to add a comment
  • This item doesn't have any comments
This hour-long webinar can help emergency responders tailor their social media messages to ensure they are reaching community members with disabilities. Links to transcripts, PowerPoint presentations, and audio and video files are provided.
Rate:
Favorite:
You must Login to add a comment
  • This item doesn't have any comments
Dornsife School of Public Health. (n.d.). Social Media Message Library. (Accessed 8/14/2019.)
Emergency planners can access and customize sample messages and posts for the following categories/populations: Natural Disasters, Infectious Diseases, Accidental Disasters, Intentional Disasters, and Individuals with Access and Functional Needs. Sample messages are provided in three main categories: general updates, response, and recovery.
Rate:
Favorite:
You must Login to add a comment
  • This item doesn't have any comments
Federal Emergency Management Agency. (2013). IS-42: Social Media in Emergency Management.
This interactive, web-based course covers best practices, tools, techniques, and a basic roadmap that can help participants in emergency management build their social media capabilities.
Rate:
Favorite:
You must Login to add a comment
  • This item doesn't have any comments
Genes, N., Chary, M., and Chason, K. (2014). Analysis of Twitter Users’ Sharing of Official New York Storm Response Messages. Medicine 2.0. 3(1): e1.
The authors analyzed tweets disseminated by New York State and City agencies during two storms (Superstorm Sandy and winter blizzard Nemo) to determine which were retweeted most frequently. The most retweeted tweets used simpler wording and shared general tips or photos versus actionable information. These finding suggest that emergency managers consider sharing a variety of information via social media in the event of a disaster.
Rate:
Favorite:
You must Login to add a comment
  • This item doesn't have any comments
The authors examined more than 15,000 tweets to understand how public health professionals used Twitter. Messages were broken into four themes: 1) inform and educate, 2) monitor health statuses and trends, 3) communicate about social justice, and 4) increase professional development.
Rate:
Favorite:
You must Login to add a comment
  • This item doesn't have any comments
Simon, T., Goldberg, A., and Adini, B. (2015). Socializing in Emergencies—A Review of the Use of Social Media in Emergency Situations. International Journal of Information Management. 35(5): 609-619.
The authors reviewed the literature on the use of social media in emergencies between 2007 and 2014. They highlight how various tools are used by the public, emergency organizations, and academic institutions.
Rate:
Favorite:
You must Login to add a comment
  • This item doesn't have any comments
Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Atlantic. (2013). Innovative Uses of Social Media in Emergency Management. U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Several case studies (and figures and statistics) highlight how social media was used by government organizations, news outlets, charity organizations, and community members to share information during disasters.
Rate:
Favorite:
You must Login to add a comment
  • This item doesn't have any comments
Sutton, J., Spiro, E., Johnson, B., and Butts, C. (2013). Following the Bombing.
Readers must click on the “Research Highlights” tab to access this article that describes how Twitter was used in the week after the Boston Marathon bombing (while the suspects were at large and the city was on lockdown).
Rate:
Favorite:
You must Login to add a comment
  • This item doesn't have any comments
U.S. Department of Homeland Security. (2014). Using Social Media for Enhanced Situational Awareness and Decision Support. Virtual Social Media Working Group and DHS First Responders Group.
Emergency planners can use the guidance in this document to better understand the use of social media in developing situational awareness (e.g., monitoring, crowdsourcing, and intelligence gathering), and analyzing data (e.g., baseline vs. event detection, and trend analysis). Other sections discuss challenges associated with technology (e.g., the use of third-party platforms, lapses in time and space) and information (e.g., aggregating and filtering, verifying, and integrating).
Rate:
Favorite:
You must Login to add a comment
  • This item doesn't have any comments
U.S. Department of Homeland Security. (2016). From Concept to Reality: Operationalizing Social Media for Preparedness, Response and Recovery. Virtual Social Media Working Group and DHS First Responders Group.
The authors explain how responders can use social media to facilitate decision making during fast-paced disaster responses. Sections on operationalizing social media into incident command, the long-term use of social media, and challenges associated with using social media can help planners form their agency’s policies. Case studies are provided at the end of the report.
Rate:
Favorite:
You must Login to add a comment
  • This item doesn't have any comments
This report can help emergency planners learn more about best practices for integrating social media into exercises and explains why social media should be a part of all aspects of disaster planning. It also highlights recent examples and challenges associated with integrating social media into exercises and training.
Rate:
Favorite:
You must Login to add a comment
  • This item doesn't have any comments
Williams, R., Williams, G., and Burton, D. (2012). The Use of Social Media for Disaster Recovery. University of Missouri Extension.
The authors share lessons they learned from creating and maintaining the "Joplin Tornado Info" and "Branson Tornado Info" Facebook pages. The guidance in this document can help emergency managers set up their own social media platforms and draft messages before an incident occurs.
Rate:
Favorite:
You must Login to add a comment
  • This item doesn't have any comments

Education and Training


Center for Homeland Defense and Security. (2016). Social Network Analysis: An Introduction.
This five-module course provides an overview of social network analysis, how it differs from standard approaches, and what some of the misconceptions are. It also looks at basic terms and concepts that underlie social network analysis.
Rate:
Favorite:
You must Login to add a comment
  • This item doesn't have any comments
* Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2012). CDC’s Guide to Writing for Social Media.
Emergency planners can use the guidance in this document to: learn about social media; understand their audiences; write for Facebook and Twitter; develop text messages; and base social media on existing web page content. Sample “hands-on” activities are provided, where readers have the chance to revise draft messages. A checklist, glossary, and links to helpful resources are also included.
Rate:
Favorite:
You must Login to add a comment
  • This item doesn't have any comments
CDC’s Crisis and Emergency Risk Communication (CERC) manual provides an integrated model for public health professionals to communicate effectively during an emergency. The chapter on social media and mobile devices covers social media’s role with mainstream media, its role in a crisis, and responding to social media regarding serious errors, myths, and misperceptions.
Rate:
Favorite:
You must Login to add a comment
  • This item doesn't have any comments
This hour-long webinar can help emergency responders tailor their social media messages to ensure they are reaching community members with disabilities. Links to transcripts, PowerPoint presentations, and audio and video files are provided.
Rate:
Favorite:
You must Login to add a comment
  • This item doesn't have any comments
Federal Emergency Management Agency. (n.d.). List of Commonly Used Social Media Sites, Platforms, and Tools by Emergency Managers. (Accessed 8/14/2019.)
This list can help emergency planners learn more about these social media platforms: blogs, microblogging (e.g., Twitter), common social media sites (e.g., Facebook), media sharing sites (e.g., Flickr) wikis, monitoring and aggregating sites, and social media influence ranking sites. Information on costs, main features, and important notes are provided for each platform.
Rate:
Favorite:
You must Login to add a comment
  • This item doesn't have any comments
Federal Emergency Management Agency. (2013). IS-42: Social Media in Emergency Management.
This interactive, web-based course covers best practices, tools, techniques, and a basic roadmap that can help participants in emergency management build their social media capabilities.
Rate:
Favorite:
You must Login to add a comment
  • This item doesn't have any comments
International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. (2017). How to Use Social Media to Better Engage People Affected by Crisis. (Webinar.)
This hour-long webinar provides a summary and strategies that can help emergency responders and charitable agencies use social media to engage disaster survivors. The web page includes links to a question and answer document and other related resources.
Rate:
Favorite:
You must Login to add a comment
  • This item doesn't have any comments
This presentation can help public information officers (PIO) understand and prepare to use social media in an emergency situation. The speaker provides an overview of crisis communication and the role of a PIO, explains to role of social media and associated challenges, and shares actual examples of PIOs using social media to inform the communities they serve.
Rate:
Favorite:
You must Login to add a comment
  • This item doesn't have any comments
* National Center for Disaster Preparedness. (2018). Visualizing Social Media: New Tools for Research and Practice. Earth Institute, Columbia University.
This webpage provides links to the center’s free courses on social media and related articles, reports, and tools.
Rate:
Favorite:
You must Login to add a comment
  • This item doesn't have any comments
National Disaster Preparedness Training Center. (2017). Social Media for Natural Disaster Response and Recovery (PER-304). (Click on course catalog and search by course number.) University of Hawaii.
This 8-hour instructor-led course teaches participants how to use social media to recognize warning signs, disseminate messages, and monitor and analyze social media traffic.
Rate:
Favorite:
You must Login to add a comment
  • This item doesn't have any comments
National Disaster Preparedness Training Center. (2017). Social Media Tools and Techniques (PER-344). (Click on course catalog and search by course number.) University of Hawaii.
This 8-hour course builds upon PER-304 and helps participants develop messages for different audiences and understand the benefits of crowdsourcing and data mining.
Rate:
Favorite:
You must Login to add a comment
  • This item doesn't have any comments
National Disaster Preparedness Training Center. (2018). PER-TBD Social Media Engagement Strategies. University of Hawaii.
This 8-hour, instructor-led course prepares participants to engage individuals and volunteer organizations through social media, especially in the context of disaster preparedness and response.
Rate:
Favorite:
You must Login to add a comment
  • This item doesn't have any comments
U.S. Department of Homeland Security. (2017). Best Practices for Incorporating Social Media into Exercises. Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Social Media Working Group for Emergency Services and Disaster Management.
This report teaches emergency planners about best practices for integrating social media into exercises and explains why social media should be a part of all aspects of disaster planning. It also highlights challenges associated with integrating social media into exercises and training.
Rate:
Favorite:
You must Login to add a comment
  • This item doesn't have any comments

General Guidance


Bouri, N., Minton, K., Jolani, N., and Rubin, S. (2014). Riding the Mobile Wave. UPMC Center for Health Security.
The authors interviewed local health departments to better understand their experiences using social media. They identified the main factors influencing use of social media and listed recommendations for local health practitioners and policymakers.
Rate:
Favorite:
You must Login to add a comment
  • This item doesn't have any comments
* Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2012). CDC’s Guide to Writing for Social Media.
Emergency planners can use the guidance in this document to: learn about social media; understand their audiences; write for Facebook and Twitter; develop text messages; and base social media on existing web page content. Sample “hands-on” activities are provided, where readers have the chance to revise draft messages. A checklist, glossary, and links to helpful resources are also included.
Rate:
Favorite:
You must Login to add a comment
  • This item doesn't have any comments
* Committee on Public Response to Alerts and Warnings on Mobile Devices: Current Knowledge and Research Gaps; National Research Council. (2011). Public Response to Alerts and Warnings on Mobile Devices: Summary of a Workshop on Current Knowledge and Research Gaps. (Free registration required for download.)
This book provides a summary of conference proceedings where risk communications experts discussed the public response to mobile alerts.
Rate:
Favorite:
1
You must Login to add a comment
  • This item doesn't have any comments
Information is split into four categories: tips for response and relief organizations, tips for first responders and government agencies, tips for individuals and communities, and Facebook crisis response products.
Rate:
Favorite:
You must Login to add a comment
  • This item doesn't have any comments
The FCC states that this report has two goals: to advocate for complementary alerting via social media and emphasize the potential opportunity and advantages for social media platforms in emergency alerting. Section 5.2 highlights the advantages of using social media and 5.3 explains challenges and opportunities.
Rate:
Favorite:
You must Login to add a comment
  • This item doesn't have any comments
* National Center for Disaster Preparedness. (2018). Visualizing Social Media: New Tools for Research and Practice. Earth Institute, Columbia University.
This webpage provides links to the center’s free courses on social media and related articles, reports, and tools.
Rate:
Favorite:
You must Login to add a comment
  • This item doesn't have any comments
National Institute of Standards and Technology. (2017). Development of Guidance for Community-Wide Public Alerts in Emergencies.
This resource describes how the National Institute of Standards and Technology is working with the National Fire Protection Association on: “1) the use of outdoor siren systems as alerts; 2) the use of “short messages” as alerts provided via social media and other short message service (SMS) platforms, and 3) the use of social media for warning in disaster response and providing updates during disaster recovery.”
Rate:
Favorite:
You must Login to add a comment
  • This item doesn't have any comments
This report summarizes presentations made at a 2012 workshop organized by the Committee on Public Response to Alerts and Warnings Using Social Media. Chapters cover the fundamentals of alerts, warnings, and social media; how social media is used in emergencies; the dynamics of social media; message credibility; privacy and legal issues; and research gaps and other challenges.
Rate:
Favorite:
1
You must Login to add a comment
  • This item doesn't have any comments
U.S. Department of Homeland Security. (2014). Using Social Media for Enhanced Situational Awareness and Decision Support. Virtual Social Media Working Group and DHS First Responders Group.
Emergency planners can use the guidance in this document to better understand the use of social media in developing situational awareness (e.g., monitoring, crowdsourcing, and intelligence gathering), and analyzing data (e.g., baseline vs. event detection, and trend analysis). Other sections discuss challenges associated with technology (e.g., the use of third-party platforms, lapses in time and space) and information (e.g., aggregating and filtering, verifying, and integrating).
Rate:
Favorite:
You must Login to add a comment
  • This item doesn't have any comments
U.S. Department of Homeland Security. (2016). From Concept to Reality: Operationalizing Social Media for Preparedness, Response and Recovery. Virtual Social Media Working Group and DHS First Responders Group.
The authors explain how responders can use social media to facilitate decision making during fast-paced disaster responses. Sections on operationalizing social media into incident command, the long-term use of social media, and challenges associated with using social media can help planners form their agency’s policies. Case studies are provided at the end of the report.
Rate:
Favorite:
You must Login to add a comment
  • This item doesn't have any comments
This report can help emergency planners learn more about best practices for integrating social media into exercises and explains why social media should be a part of all aspects of disaster planning. It also highlights recent examples and challenges associated with integrating social media into exercises and training.
Rate:
Favorite:
You must Login to add a comment
  • This item doesn't have any comments
* U.S. Department of Homeland Security. (2017). Project Responder 5.
Project Responder can help prioritize capability needs for emergency response to critical incidents. The fifth iteration of this series is based on lessons learned by responders who worked some of the largest disasters in the U.S. over the past several years. The benefits, challenges, and lessons learned from resident and responder use of social media are interwoven throughout the document.
Rate:
Favorite:
You must Login to add a comment
  • This item doesn't have any comments
* Williams, R., Williams, G., and Burton, D. (2012). The Use of Social Media for Disaster Recovery. University of Missouri Extension.
The authors share lessons they learned from creating and maintaining the "Joplin Tornado Info" and "Branson Tornado Info" Facebook pages. The guidance in this document can help emergency managers set up their own social media platforms and draft messages before an incident occurs.
Rate:
Favorite:
You must Login to add a comment
  • This item doesn't have any comments

Lessons Learned: Floods


Bosch, D. (2017). Use of Social Media and E-Government in Disasters: 2016 Louisiana Floods Case Study. (Abstract only.) Journal of Emergency Management. 15(6): 391-405.
The author discusses the strengths and challenges of social media use after the floods that struck Louisiana in 2016. Based on a small survey he conducted, he found that the use of social media increased while more traditional communication channels were compromised. Survey respondents were neutral or dissatisfied with the level of federal government engagement via social media.
Rate:
Favorite:
You must Login to add a comment
  • This item doesn't have any comments
Scott, K. and Errett, N. (2017). Content, Accessibility, and Dissemination of Disaster Information via Social Media During the 2016 Louisiana Floods. (Abstract only.) Journal of Public Health Management and Practice.
The authors analyzed Facebook and Twitter posts made by federal, state, and local government agencies (including public health and emergency management) before, during, and after the flooding events. They scored each post using accessibility and dissemination scales and found that most posts were related to situational awareness and recovery.
Rate:
Favorite:
You must Login to add a comment
  • This item doesn't have any comments

Lessons Learned: Hurricanes


Ambinder, E., Jennings, D., Blachman-Biatch, I., et al. (2013). The Resilient Social Network. @OccupySandy #SuperstormSandy. Homeland Security Studies and Analysis Institute.
The authors researched and developed a case study on the impact of the group "Occupy Sandy" (which grew from the Occupy Wall Street movement), the Twitter handle "@OccupySandy" and hashtag "#SuperStormSandy” used to share information about the storm via social media. Overall, the group helped mobilize volunteers, identify community needs in near real time, and share information; recommendations for future use of social media as a tool in emergency management are provided.
Rate:
Favorite:
You must Login to add a comment
  • This item doesn't have any comments
Can non-traditional data (e.g., tweets) supplement traditional data reporting during hurricane response? The authors examined tweets, news reports, press releases, and federal situation reports during the Hurricane Isaac response in 2012 to measure “Essential Elements of Information.” Their findings highlighted the utility of non-traditional data sources in disaster response.
Rate:
Favorite:
You must Login to add a comment
  • This item doesn't have any comments
Genes, N., Chary, M., and Chason, K. (2014). Analysis of Twitter Users’ Sharing of Official New York Storm Response Messages. Medicine 2.0. 3(1): e1.
The authors analyzed tweets disseminated by New York State and City agencies during two storms (Superstorm Sandy and winter blizzard Nemo) to determine which were retweeted most frequently. The most retweeted tweets used simpler wording and shared general tips or photos versus actionable information. These finding suggest that emergency managers consider sharing a variety of information via social media in the event of a disaster.
Rate:
Favorite:
You must Login to add a comment
  • This item doesn't have any comments
Gruebner, O., Lowe, S., Sykora, M., et al. (2017). A Novel Surveillance Approach for Disaster Mental Health. PLoS One. 12(7).
The authors used “advanced sentiment analysis” to examine tweets posted over an 11 day period before, during, and after Hurricane Sandy to highlight basic emotions and determine if they could map excess risk of these emotions. Their analysis revealed spatial clusters and they encourage further study that could help quickly identify community areas where behavioral health assistance is most needed.
Rate:
Favorite:
You must Login to add a comment
  • This item doesn't have any comments
Gubbins, T. and Cozijnsen, R. (2017). Emergency Communications in the Era of Social Media. Presspage.
Social media facilitated emergency communications during Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. The authors highlight how residents used it to request rescue and how responders used it to stay connected when more traditional means of communication were temporarily unavailable.
Rate:
Favorite:
You must Login to add a comment
  • This item doesn't have any comments
Harris Smith, S., Bennett, K.J., and Livinski, A.A. (2014). Evolution of a Search: The Use of Dynamic Twitter Searches During Superstorm Sandy. PLOS Currents Disasters.
The authors explain how the use of a Twitter list combined with Boolean searches helped the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response increased situational awareness and improved the HHS response to Hurricane Sandy.
Rate:
Favorite:
You must Login to add a comment
  • This item doesn't have any comments
Kryvasheyeu, Y., Chen, H., Obradovich, N., et al. (2016). Rapid Assessment of Disaster Damage Using Social Media Activity. Science Advances. 2(3).
The authors analyzed Twitter activity before, during, and after Hurricane Sandy and found that physical disaster effects and real and perceived threats can be observed by studying the intensity and makeup of Twitter’s streams. Emergency managers could use social media data to quickly assess disaster-related damage in their jurisdictions.
Rate:
Favorite:
You must Login to add a comment
  • This item doesn't have any comments
Clicking on the tab “Research Highlights” takes readers to this article with graphics that illustrate how social media was used before, during, and after Superstorm Sandy. Graphics show the number of tweets per hour, a word cloud, how 103 professional organizations tweeted during the event, and how the number of followers increased for seven specific accounts (e.g., the American Red Cross North Jersey Region, conEdison, and FEMA Region 2).
Rate:
Favorite:
You must Login to add a comment
  • This item doesn't have any comments
Stephens, K. (2012). One County’s Social Media Stats: Hurricane Sandy. idisaster 2.0.
The author comments on analyses of Fairfax County Virginia’s Office of Public Affairs social media posts (and public reception) during Hurricanes Irene (2011) and Sandy (2012). Links to related resources are provided.
Rate:
Favorite:
You must Login to add a comment
  • This item doesn't have any comments
This report shares how social media was used before, during, and in recovery from Hurricane Sandy. It includes best practices, lessons learned, gaps, and issues for further consideration identified by the first responder community.
Rate:
Favorite:
You must Login to add a comment
  • This item doesn't have any comments

Lessons Learned: Infectious Disease


Al-Surimi, K., Khalifa, M., Bahkali, S., et al. (2017). The Potential of Social Media and Internet-Based Data in Preventing and Fighting Infectious Diseases: From Internet to Twitter. (Abstract only.) Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology. 972: 131-139.
The authors describe the role social media can play in tracking, communicating about, and reporting emerging infectious diseases (e.g., Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, Ebola, and Zika).
Rate:
Favorite:
You must Login to add a comment
  • This item doesn't have any comments
A study of zika-related social media found that while most posts are in English, Facebook posts are more likely than tweets to be in a study author’s primary language. The authors of this article suggest Facebook is a more effective way to communicate in native languages of affected countries.
Rate:
Favorite:
You must Login to add a comment
  • This item doesn't have any comments
Hadi, T. and Fleshler, K. (2016). Integrating Social Media Monitoring Into Public Health Emergency Response Operations. Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness. 1-6.
The authors describe how they used social media monitoring during public health emergency responses in New York City, including Ebola and Legionnaire’s responses and for planned events. They offer concepts and implementations that can be applied to other agencies who want to build a social media monitoring team.
Rate:
Favorite:
1
You must Login to add a comment
  • This item doesn't have any comments
Hadi, T., MacGregor, J., and Lauren, M. (2017). Social Media Monitoring: 2016 Zika Response in NYC. Health Security. Health Security. 15(4).
This article highlights how the New York City Social Media Monitoring Team (SMMT) coordinated the 2016 Zika planning and response efforts. The authors encourage local health departments leading or supporting emergency response to dedicate staff to monitoring social media to improve real-time situational awareness and understanding of public perception.
Rate:
Favorite:
You must Login to add a comment
  • This item doesn't have any comments
The authors examined more than 15,000 tweets to understand how public health professionals used Twitter. Messages were broken into four themes: 1) inform and educate, 2) monitor health statuses and trends, 3) communicate about social justice, and 4) increase professional development.
Rate:
Favorite:
You must Login to add a comment
  • This item doesn't have any comments
The author shares information gathered from the 2015 Disneyland measles outbreak and highlights pros and cons associated with using social media to measure and track vaccine acceptance/doubt and anticipate disease peaks.
Rate:
Favorite:
1
You must Login to add a comment
  • This item doesn't have any comments
The authors examine the miscalculation of Google Flu Trends in 2013 and explain the challenges and potential associated with using Big Data to predict and monitor disease.
Rate:
Favorite:
You must Login to add a comment
  • This item doesn't have any comments
Liu, B. and Kim, S. (2011). How Organizations Framed the 2009 H1N1 Pandemic Via Social and Traditional Media: Implications for U.S. Health Communicators. (Abstract only.) Public Relations Review. 37(3): 233-244.
Public health organizations used a mix of social media and traditional channels to communicate with the community during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic. Researchers found that while social media linked to traditional media, the reverse was not true. They also found that traditional media was still relied on more to provide more comprehensive information.
Rate:
Favorite:
You must Login to add a comment
  • This item doesn't have any comments
Marchette, D. and Hohman, E. (2015). Using Twitter to Detect and Investigate Disease Outbreaks. (Abstract only.) Online Journal of Public Health Informatics. 7(1): e147.
The authors describe how they aggregated and filtered Twitter data to identify “events”—data with an unusual count that is then assessed by an analyst. They then used this method to analyze social media surrounding the Boston Marathon bombing, New Year’s festivities, and the Ebola outbreak.
Rate:
Favorite:
You must Login to add a comment
  • This item doesn't have any comments
The authors used data derived from Twitter to track two things: public sentiment specific to H1N1 (swine flu) and actual disease activity. They found that their estimates of influenza-like illness matched reported disease levels.
Rate:
Favorite:
You must Login to add a comment
  • This item doesn't have any comments
Health officials in Brazil sponsored the development of Guardiões da Saúde, an app (available in seven languages) that monitored the health of participating citizens and visitors to the Olympics. Users would answer questions about their health on a daily basis and the app provided information about care and prevention.
Rate:
Favorite:
You must Login to add a comment
  • This item doesn't have any comments
Wong, R., Harris, J., Staub, M., and Bernhardt, J. (2017). Local Health Departments Tweeting About Ebola: Characteristics and Messaging. (Abstract only.) Journal of Public Health Management and Practice. 23(2): e16-e24.
The study team collected all Ebola-related tweets sent by nearly 300 local health departments (LHDs) across the U.S. from September 3 to November 2, 2014 and analyzed their characteristics. The majority of Ebola tweets provided information, and the rest shared information on preparedness or shared news or promoted events. The authors recommend that LHDs use Twitter during public health emergencies “to ensure timeline dissemination of critical information.”
Rate:
Favorite:
You must Login to add a comment
  • This item doesn't have any comments

Lessons Learned: Mass Violence


Straub, F., Cambria, J., Castor, J., et al. (2017). Rescue, Response, and Resilience: A Critical Incident Review of the Orlando Public Safety Response to the Attack on the Pulse Nightclub. Office of Community Oriented Policing Services.
This comprehensive report describes the unified response the City of Orlando carried out during and after the Orlando Pulse nightclub attack. While slightly more focused on law enforcement, the report shares numerous lessons learned from several perspectives, including: leadership and relationships; media and public information (e.g., the use of social media and the importance of having one organization responsible for sharing information via one platform); and community engagement and relationships.
Rate:
Favorite:
You must Login to add a comment
  • This item doesn't have any comments
Clicking on the tab “Research Highlights” takes readers to this article which focuses on guidance provided via Twitter after the Boston Marathon bombing. Guidance is grouped into themes (e.g., evacuation/shelter and advisory) and graphed by which of the seven organizational sectors tweeted about it (crisis, health, environment, law enforcement, government/elected officials, transportation, and other).
Rate:
Favorite:
You must Login to add a comment
  • This item doesn't have any comments
Sutton, J., Spiro, E., Johnson, B., and Butts, C. (2013). Following the Bombing.
Readers must click on the “Research Highlights” tab to access this article that describes how Twitter was used in the week after the Boston Marathon bombing (while the suspects were at large and the city was on lockdown).
Rate:
Favorite:
You must Login to add a comment
  • This item doesn't have any comments
Wolff-Mann, E. (2016). Facebook Activated Its Safety Check for the First Time in the U.S.. Health Security. 15(2):175-184.
This article provides a short overview of the feature and describes how it was used after the Orlando Pulse nightclub shooting.
Rate:
Favorite:
You must Login to add a comment
  • This item doesn't have any comments

Lessons Learned: Tornadoes


Social media was used after the tornado to: document the event, enable survivors to list themselves as safe (and find their loved ones), provide survivors with information on getting assistance, and help survivors locate lost items (e.g., pets and medical records).
Rate:
Favorite:
You must Login to add a comment
  • This item doesn't have any comments
* Williams, R., Williams, G., and Burton, D. (2012). The Use of Social Media for Disaster Recovery. University of Missouri Extension.
The authors share lessons they learned from creating and maintaining the "Joplin Tornado Info" and "Branson Tornado Info" Facebook pages. The guidance in this document can help emergency managers set up their own social media platforms and draft messages before an incident occurs.
Rate:
Favorite:
You must Login to add a comment
  • This item doesn't have any comments

Lessons Learned: Wildfires


Spiro, E., Sutton, J., Johnson, B., et al. (2012). HEROIC Team Explores Waldo Canyon Wildfire in Colorado.
Clicking on the tab “Research Highlights” takes readers to this article which focuses on how social media was used during one of the most expensive fires in Colorado’s history. Animated figures illustrate communication to and from official government organizations by date, and other graphics show how tweets were retweeted before and during the event (most organizations used Twitter to communicate).
Rate:
Favorite:
You must Login to add a comment
  • This item doesn't have any comments
Zhong, X., Duckham, M., Chong, D, and Tolhurst, K. (2016). Real-Time Estimation of Wildfire Perimeters from Curated Crowdsourcing. Scientific Reports. 6: 24206.
The authors describe an automated technique for real-time tracking of wildfire perimeters based on publicly available crowdsourced data collected from telephone calls to emergency services. This data allowed them to detect and track perimeters in real time, accurately, in two wildfires years apart.
Rate:
Favorite:
You must Login to add a comment
  • This item doesn't have any comments

Plans, Tools, and Templates


This voluntary standard—developed with input from law enforcement, fire, and medical emergency responders—describes how social media can and should be used during disasters. Planners can access Chapters 6 and 8 for specific guidance on creating a social media policy for their organization.
Rate:
Favorite:
You must Login to add a comment
  • This item doesn't have any comments
This basic checklist can help emergency planners create a social media plan. It includes steps to take before, during, and after a disaster and links to social media platform pages for more information.
Rate:
Favorite:
You must Login to add a comment
  • This item doesn't have any comments
The author explains how crowdsourcing, social media monitoring, and other tools can help disaster responders quickly collect information and tailor their on-ground response. These tools can also help volunteers contribute online or help onsite. Links to several tools are provided.
Rate:
Favorite:
You must Login to add a comment
  • This item doesn't have any comments
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2015). CDC Enterprise Social Media Policy.
This policy document includes sections that emergency planners can use as guidance when creating their own policies. Information on personal use of social media, employee participation in social media, and review steps and levels associated with social media channels are included, as are a list of responsibilities by role, references, and an abbreviations list.
Rate:
Favorite:
You must Login to add a comment
  • This item doesn't have any comments
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2016). The Health Communicator’s Social Media Toolkit.
This toolkit (published in 2011) can help emergency managers develop a social media program. It includes guidance on topics such as tools, creating buttons and badges, podcasts, RSS feeds, and widgets. Links to sample accounts and other helpful resources are also provided.
Rate:
Favorite:
You must Login to add a comment
  • This item doesn't have any comments
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2017). Public Service Announcements for Disasters.
This collection provides public service announcements to help communicators respond to a wide variety of public health emergencies, including earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, wildfires and more. Topics also include messaging around common all-hazards topics, such as the needs of at-risk populations, safe cleanup, and safe use of medication after a disaster. The PSAs are available in a variety of formats, including text message, short scripts for broadcast use, short videos for use on social media and more.
Rate:
Favorite:
1
You must Login to add a comment
  • This item doesn't have any comments
Computational Epidemiology Group. (2019). HealthMap. Boston Children’s Hospital.
Using an automated process (updated continuously based on surveillance and user feedback), this app aggregates disease outbreak data and displays it in an interactive manner in nine languages. HealthMap runs healthmap.org and “Outbreaks Near Me,” both of which deliver real-time intelligence on a variety of infectious diseases. Emergency planners can use this data to identify early outbreaks, monitor trends from several levels, and access resources related to specific diseases. Links to several “Alert Sources” from which data are collected are also provided on the home page.
Rate:
Favorite:
You must Login to add a comment
  • This item doesn't have any comments
Disaster Information Management Resource Center. (2017). Disaster Apps for Your Digital Go Bag. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
This webpage includes links to many tools first responders and other emergency healthcare providers can use on scene and in facilities to care for disaster survivors.
Rate:
Favorite:
You must Login to add a comment
  • This item doesn't have any comments
Dornsife School of Public Health. (n.d.). Social Media Message Library. (Accessed 8/14/2019.)
Emergency planners can access and customize sample messages and posts for the following categories/populations: Natural Disasters, Infectious Diseases, Accidental Disasters, Intentional Disasters, and Individuals with Access and Functional Needs. Sample messages are provided in three main categories: general updates, response, and recovery.
Rate:
Favorite:
You must Login to add a comment
  • This item doesn't have any comments
Drexel University. (n.d.). Using Social Media in a Disaster. (Accessed 1/31/2019.)
This webpage can be used as a checklist and includes lists of actions emergency planners can take before and during a disaster to ensure their social media messages are as helpful, timely, and informative as possible.
Rate:
Favorite:
You must Login to add a comment
  • This item doesn't have any comments
Humanity Road. (2019). Humanity Road.
This non-profit organization is “driven by digital volunteers” who help with disaster preparedness and use “social listening” to identify and connect survivors to disaster assistance. Their website includes a “Situation Reports” tab where users can access timely reports about incidents by year, by country, or by clicking on an interactive map.
Rate:
Favorite:
You must Login to add a comment
  • This item doesn't have any comments
Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. (2015). Social Media Monitoring for Emergency Managers: A Comprehensive Guide.
This highly visual report is structured around three key stages about monitoring social media before, during, and after an emergency. Each phase includes suggestions for implementation, key lessons learned, and examples.
Rate:
Favorite:
You must Login to add a comment
  • This item doesn't have any comments
National Association of County and City Health Officials. (2014). Pandemics Detected Using Digital Tools in Public Health.
The speakers in this 17 minute video share how local health departments can use social media platforms like Facebook to identify pandemics or other illness outbreaks in communities, allowing them to more quickly address threats and care for and communicate with residents.
Rate:
Favorite:
You must Login to add a comment
  • This item doesn't have any comments
Pages 20-23 of this toolkit provide an overview of using social media before, during, and after an event and include checklists sample posts (based on a pandemic influenza outbreak).
Rate:
Favorite:
You must Login to add a comment
  • This item doesn't have any comments
Periscope. (2019). Periscope.
Users can search and view live video via desktop or mobile devices. Results are grouped into channels, but users can also search by hashtags.
Rate:
Favorite:
You must Login to add a comment
  • This item doesn't have any comments
Twitter. (2019). TweetDeck.
TweetDeck allows users to customize their Twitter experience (e.g., build and organize collections), track specific topics, events, and hashtags, and manage multiple accounts.
Rate:
Favorite:
You must Login to add a comment
  • This item doesn't have any comments
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response. (2019). NowTrending.
This web-based application searches open source Twitter data for health topics, notably infectious disease outbreaks, and delivers analyses of that data for both a specified geographic area and the national level.
Rate:
Favorite:
You must Login to add a comment
  • This item doesn't have any comments
U.S. Department of Homeland Security. (2012). Social Media Strategy. Virtual Social Media Working Group and DHS First Responders Group.
In addition to listing the benefits and challenges associated with implementing social media for public safety (including public health, emergency management, fire, and law enforcement), this document includes links to examples for each type of platform (e.g., mobile texting, Twitter profiles, Facebook, LinkedIn, photo and video sharing).
Rate:
Favorite:
You must Login to add a comment
  • This item doesn't have any comments
This report can help emergency planners learn more about best practices for integrating social media into exercises and explains why social media should be a part of all aspects of disaster planning. It also highlights recent examples and challenges associated with integrating social media into exercises and training.
Rate:
Favorite:
You must Login to add a comment
  • This item doesn't have any comments

Agencies and Organizations


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Health Communicator’s Social Media Toolkit.
Rate:
Favorite:
You must Login to add a comment
  • This item doesn't have any comments
Rate:
Favorite:
You must Login to add a comment
  • This item doesn't have any comments
Rate:
Favorite:
You must Login to add a comment
  • This item doesn't have any comments
Rate:
Favorite:
You must Login to add a comment
  • This item doesn't have any comments
Rate:
Favorite:
You must Login to add a comment
  • This item doesn't have any comments
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response. NowTrending.
Rate:
Favorite:
You must Login to add a comment
  • This item doesn't have any comments
Rate:
Favorite:
You must Login to add a comment
  • This item doesn't have any comments
footer

Enter your email address to receive important announcements and updates through the ASPR TRACIE Listserv.