RESCUE research on social media and collaborative software use in emergencies (2014-2017)

Open Access book published: Social Media Use In Crisis and Risk Communication

by evagold

Our recently published book presents cutting-edge research on the use of social media in crisis communication and reporting. It gives recommendations about how different crisis communicators (information officers, crisis managers, journalists) can improve their ability to gather information, communicate and raise people’s crisis awareness by using social media.

To listen to social media users and respond to their worries or emerging rumors should be a central part of professionals’ crisis communication strategies.

This is one of the results in our book Social Media Use in Crisis and Risk Communication, in which we discuss current practices and future directions for professional crisis communicators. The book is a part of the European project RESCUE (Researching Social Media and Collaborative Software Use in Emergency Situations). Researchers in Austria, Finland, Norway and UK have investigated how authorities, NGOs, and journalists have used social media in various types of crises: the terrorist attacks in Norway on 22 July 2011, the Central European floods in Austria in 2013, and the West African Ebola outbreak in 2014.  Read more…


Open Access
You can read the open access ebook from October 1, 2018 here:

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Visualizing Networks in WP3

by evagold

The Austrian team involved in work package 3 (WP3) in the RESCUE project recently was supported by visiting scholar Yogita KUCHANKAR from IIT Kanpur.

One way to investigate social media use in emergencies is to make use of digital methods and visual analytics techniques. This is one of the strategies used in the RESCUE project. Our colleague Yogita is in Austria for a research intern in communication and journalism, but has a background in engineering and computer science. This led to a fruitful collaboration in investigating the communication flow in the case of the 2013 floods in Austria for WP3, especially concerning the involved networks on social media and Facebook in particular.


The newsfeed of any user on Facebook mainly shows two types of information – one is the shared status updates and information from their friends and the other is the news from the liked public pages. Thus, one of the most effective ways to study the information flow on social networking sites is by extracting and examining a network of the pages established. These pages – set up by a number of nonprofit organisations, fire brigades, volunteer organisations, media houses, etc. – post or not post information during emergency situations. An efficient way to track the public flow of information is thus by studying the network formed by these pages.

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WP5 kickoff for usability study

by Hallvard

The Finnish team involved in work package 5 (WP5) in the RESCUE project recently kicked off 2016 with a meeting where the layout of an upcoming usability study was discussed.

The idea within WP5 is to make sure that usability aspects are included in the products and concepts developed within the European RESCUE project. Usability is about designing things according to what the intended user needs and wants, instead of forcing the user to change one’s habits in accordance with how the product was designed.

One way to investigate usability is to test how easy it is to use unfinished prototypes of products, and then continue designing according to what the tests have shown. This is one of the strategies used in the RESCUE project.

The testing methods we use consist of collecting a combination of interviews and similar subjective data, as well as eye movements, level of frustration, and other forms of objective data. This is done while the participant tries out the prototype. For each study, the research team decides about the perfect combination of methods after talking to product developers and having a look at the whereabouts of the prototype. And as this was the main topic of the WP5 kickoff in January, we’ll post an update with study results after collecting the first wave of data later this Spring.

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Meeting Oslo

RESCUE meeting in Oslo

by evagold

The last consortium meeting took place in Oslo at the 16th and 17th of October 2015. Fortunately, members of the advisory board also found time to join essential parts of the discussion (either face-to-face or online).

The first day started with a case study presentation with our advisory board. We explained to them what have we achieved so far in the different cases and what updates (e.g. the flu pandemic case moved on to Ebola) were added. Furthermore, the tool development – especially the application of a usability approach – was presented to the advisory board. The focus on the understanding of users’ key goals led to fruitful feedback and discussion about work flows, which social media platforms to include, existing tools and the media business, as well as the needs of different actors.

After updates on the status of the partners’ unique research within the RESCUE team​ Anna Grøndahl Larsen presented her PhD project concerning risk reporting in a digital age to round off the first day.

On Saturday, the RESCUE team set the stage for further tool development and the usability tests. In addition, methodologies and practicalities concerning the processing of tweets were discussed. Finally, we considered and developed our paper plans for conference presentations.


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RESCUE in the HiOA Magazine

by evagold

The article Twitter in an emergency  appearing in the online issue of the magazine indroduces the RESCUE Project and the main objectives.

A lot of our work is going to be about how key communicators can use social media Messages in emergenciesHarald Hornmoen

Find the whole article at page 18/19 of the HiOA Magazine:


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Successful launch of RESCUE

by Hallvard

RESCUE kicked off on September 18 and 19 with researchers from Austria, Wales, Finland and Norway meeting in Oslo. The research project investigates the use of social media in emergencies and crises such as the terrorist attacks in Norway in 2011 and the flooding in Central Europe in 2013. Ultimately, the RESCUE project will suggest improved ways of using social media in such situations. At the Oslo meeting, an advisory board gave valuable input on crisis communication involving social media. The board consists of representatives from organizations as diverse as the Austrian Press Agency, the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation, the Directorate of Civil Protection and Emergency Planning in Norway and The Health Protection Agency in the UK.

The meeting also marked the launch of our RESCUE web page/blog. We highly appreciate input and comments from our readers.

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