RESCUE research on social media use in emergencies

Project description

RESCUE is a research project funded by the SAMRISK II (Social security) program of The Research Council of Norway. RESCUE is an acronym for Researching Social Media and Collaborative Software Use in Emergency Situations. RESCUE was kicked off in September 2014 and will last until September 2017. Our research question is:

How do key communicators use, evaluate and react to social media messages in emergencies, and how can their use of social media be improved to optimize their awareness of – and response to – the situation?

The RESCUE project will develop new knowledge based models of emergency communication by studying social media use in particularly three different emergency cases:

  1. The terrorist attacks in Norway in 2011
  2. An environmental disaster, the flooding in May and June 2013 in central Europe
  3. The pandemic influenza popularly known as the swine flu.

Apart from improving our understanding how social media has been used by key crisis/risk communicators (such as crisis/risk information authorities, rescue organizations and journalists) and what impact it has had in these emergencies, the RESCUE project will identify strengths and weaknesses in usage patterns and the assessment methods that have been applied.

The second overarching objective of the project is more normative and practical: To enable improved social media interaction in emergencies and use of social media tools in emergency communication. We will establish arrangements for such improved usage through:

  1. Close dialogues with end users
  2. On the basis of knowledge of social media use in emergencies generated through the empirical research in the case studies.
  3. By including an SME (small and medium-sized enterprise) partner, BENGLER, with special qualifications and an outstanding record of software development and of building social websites and services.

In the process of developing social media tools for actors communicating and evaluating information in emergencies the usage and the usability of the tools will be studied both in real-life situations and tested in a laboratory Setting.