BEING SOCIAL: INTEGRATING SOCIAL MEDIA INTO PUBLIC INFORMATION SUPPORT TO EMERGENCY RESPONSE
Spicer, Tamara L.
Gomez, Rodrigo Nieto
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Emergency response agencies across the homeland security spectrum rely on their public information offices to leverage social media in support of citizens and response organizations during times of disaster. Do these public information practitioners have the guidance and tools necessary to represent their organizations effectively in times of emergency To answer this question, this thesis reviews social media policies at the local, state, federal and international emergency response agency levels, specifically looking at guidance provided for crisis communications social media use during and after a disaster. Case studies on the how social media are used during and after a disaster are studied from the various perspectives. Finally, this research examines additional considerations for social media and emergency response. The policy review and case studies find a disparity between what is expected of our emergency response agency communicators and the guidance provided to them to meet the needs of our citizens and organizations in a time of disaster. This gap between policy and action leaves room for miscommunication and inconsistencies that must be addressed. This thesis concludes with research analysis, addressing that information gap and provides a policy template for normal conditions and emergency response events.
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