RESCUE research on social media use in emergencies

WP 3: Case Study: Local Environmental Disaster

The investigation of an environmental disaster, the flooding in May and June 2013 in central Europe, is pursued in another case study. Here other methods are applied that add findings to the broad picture how social media is used in emergency situations. During the flooding, partner FHJ recorded approximately 20.000 unique tweets, blog entries, Facebook postings, articles in online newspapers and forum discussions that deal with the situation of the flooding in Austria. This dataset will be enriched with in-depth interviews of people involved in communicating the incident. Through the combination of quantitative and qualitative methods we seek to find a comprehensive model of information flow around environmental disasters with new insights concerning time and rhythm, important citizen as well as institutional actors and the interdependence of mass and social media. Another result is the normative development of a social media standard procedure guide that gives recommendations about how rescue organizations should communicate through social media in the case of environmental emergencies. Based on the data (authority connections, locality patterns) we will also develop a method that identifies local witnesses and multipliers in social media.

This task is the basis for the tool development that is undertaken in WP 6.