Launching New Animation: Use of Social Media in Emergencies

Launching New Animation: Use of Social Media in Emergencies

Animation summarising some of the key messages and learnings from the Emergent Project.


16 August 2017

Animation summarising some of the key messages and learnings from the Emergent Project.

This short animation has been created to summarise some of the key messages and learnings for Emergency Services organisations that have come out of the Emergent project.

EmerGent is a European research project that examines the role played by current mainstream social media in emergencies and assesses their impact.  The overall objective of EmerGent is to understand the positive and negative impact of social media in emergencies to:

  • enhance the safety and security of citizens before, during and after emergencies,
  • strengthen the role of European companies supplying services and products related to EmerGent’s results.

As part of this project, the Tavistock Institute for Human Relations has carried out a variety of case studies of the use of social media in emergencies, such as floods, fires or terrorist attacks. This has shown that emergency services can collect valuable information from social media – including updates, warnings, videos or photos – to increase their situational awareness and inform their response. This information is also used to provide guidance or warnings to the public before, during or after an emergency.

The Tavistock Institute has also conducted representative surveys of citizens exploring their use of social media in general and specifically in relation to emergency situations. An online survey of 2000 citizens in the UK in October 2016, for example, found that around a third of adult citizens in the UK have used social media during an emergency to look for or share information – but the proportion of those who have used it in this way is much higher among young people (56% of 18-24 year olds have used social media during an emergency). The survey also showed that women are significantly more likely to use social media in an emergency than men – particularly to share information with others.

Another survey of emergency service staff conducted in May 2017 found that 77% have used social media to share information with the public while 62% have used it to look for information during an emergency. A similar survey conducted in 2014 shows a rapid growth in the use of social media with more and more emergency services using it in this way.

The animation aims to provide key personnel in emergency services with information and key statistics on ‘why use’ social media. This will take them to the full guideline produced by the project consortium.  The guidelines will help emergency services by providing them with useful tips about how to use social media safely in an emergency.

Find out more:

Studies: http://fp7-emergent.eu/surveys
Guidelines: http://fp7-emergent.eu/guidelines

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration, under grant agreement no 608352.

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