Social Media as Benefactor During Emergencies

Whenever there is an emergency, the need to communicate rises. If a company’s business operations are disrupted or an alarming situation has suddenly struck twelve, customers and employers of the company would desperately want to know about the news and how they can save themselves from being affected. As globalization has driven new waves of communication, the lives have gotten faster. Information flows in seconds and the receivers of information are always desperate to receive more.

Social Media and Emergency Response

Time has become more and more valuable. People’s demands have become specific and their expectations have reached new standards. They need to be aware of their surroundings all the time in order to keep them updated. Technology have paved new paths to disclose information yet the ways in which these paths can be utilized are still unexplored in the eyes of corporate as well as the public world.

How Social Media Aids Emergency Plans?

Companies need to build a crisis communication plan with team that should consist of members of the management who have a thorough understanding about customers and company. The basic aim of the crisis communication team should be to extract the information about the incident and present it to the predicted affectees. In order to accomplish this, social media comes with great solution. Social media can be used as chatter or story teller. Using the basic input of the audience, the team should generate messages incorporating details of incident and disseminate information for release.
Organizations need to understand their audience’s concern. They must at all times respond to the queries and concerns of audience. This can only be done in an efficient way by the use of social media as people daily log in to their profiles to check any notifications. Reaching out to audience where they are expected to come within hours is the best way. It not only spreads messages quickly but ensures the responsive, trustful and credible nature of the company. Companies should be honest and transparent when releasing the information. If the crisis is vaguely explained it may lead to severe consequences.

Strategies before Tragedies

A better way to respond to emergencies is to develop strategic plans before the emergency occurs. This not only helps in stimulating the news on time and in a coordinated manner but also reduces the consequences that the audience as well as the company might face. Media should be used as a communicator with public.
Social media platforms such as Facebook and twitter which have over 1.5 billion users throughout the globe can also be used to let the public know how they can avoid the risks associated with crisis situation. It will also give public a sense of control and time to react to subtleties. The social media has provided new way to assist people in times of disaster such as, survivors, responders, volunteers and the general public.
For examples, it can be used as an alert to where and what type of relief is needed. Disaster responders can use social media during a disaster to track volunteers, to help reconnect families, and to disseminate critical information. Also, in a disaster, social media can be used as an alternative to phones for calls for help. Social media provides a means for people to share partial information in a disaster which may eventually contribute to the fuller understanding of a disaster through the continued addition of information.
During a disaster, social media platforms can be seen as awareness features which alert others of the safety of those affected by the crisis. Platforms can also serve as peer information sources and information gathering resources. In a disaster or crisis, social media can also serve as a frame to understand what type of emergency has occurred and the magnitude or severity of the event. As social media continues to be used during a crisis, people will receive more information about the disaster regardless of whether they are local to the disaster or not.

Social Media Platforms

Social media platforms like Twitter and technologies like email and text messaging can be used to create a database of contacts to reach individuals during a disaster or emergency. Social media platforms, specifically blogs, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Utterli, and the tagging capabilities on those platforms, allow organizations to collect, organize and disseminate information during an emergency or disaster with privacy taken care of. Social media platforms also facilitate sharing across platforms. Something that is blogged can also be tweeted and posted on Facebook. Platforms, such as Flickr, which can disseminate images from a disaster, can be tools to encourage victims to seek help in a disaster and to encourage others to donate to disaster response efforts. These strategies describe a variety of ways social media can be beneficial.

Social Media as a Privacy Maintainer

Social media is a means to empower audience while keeping their private information secure. It helps to access people’s profiles just to the extent people have allowed to i.e. social media offers a number of multiple option in which people can prioritize the notifications to be attained, who can tag, which organizations can assess the profile and to what extent. Now each social media platform provides its own application. Every smart phone user does not have to sit on the computer to log for the latest updates. The latest notifications automatically pop up. Thus it is not only the means to attain information about the emergency at whatever costs instead it’s a platform which secures the audience in the best possible way. The only action required from audience and companies to keep them as much updated as they can. This is an entirely latest trend to which people need to get acquainted with.

Although, people still prefer telephone calls in times of emergencies, yet there are many problems which can be become a constraint in directly contacting the affectees. Social media happens to be a benevolent aspect whenever it is needed to reach to the expected audience in time of emergencies and crisis.

 Social Media and Emergency Response

Moreover, the greatest advantage of social media as a crisis communication tool is that it allows one to save time and subsequently spread message across large audience.

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