The Use of Social Media for Disaster Recovery: Lessons learned while creating and managing “Joplin Tornado Info” (2011) on Facebook and further implemented with “Branson Tornado Info” (2012), Missouri Flood Info (2011-2012) and others

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AUTHORS:
Rebecca and Genevieve Williams (Joplin Tornado Info) and David Burton (MU Extension)

SUMMARY:
Do not attempt to set up a disaster recovery site unless you are fully prepared to devote yourself 24/7 to the effort. Social Media in a major disaster should not be taken on by a single individual. It is not a 9 to 5, Monday thru Friday task because these sites do not manage themselves. Collec-tively, the five person core team for Joplin Tornado Info was experienced in profes-sional social media management, market-ing, PR, crisis intervention, IT, journal-ism, copywriting, construction, logistics, nursing, and meteorology. No one person could have covered all of this effectively. As soon as it was possible, administrators from utility companies, city officials, and other official groups were added. Social media for disaster recovery requires many hands, with one or two dedicated “supervisors” of the Facebook page. Do not undertake a project of this scope unless you are certain you can follow through as long as it takes. Chances are, you will be signing on to do this for sev-eral months. It is impossible to know at the beginning of a disaster, the scope of the situation.