The Use of Social Media by Local Government in Response to an Extreme Event: Del Norte County, CA Response to the 2011 Japan Tsunami

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Yulia Tyshchuk, William Wallace

Social media has become increasingly important for emergency management. One example is its current use by governmental organizations to disseminate emergency-relevant information. During disaster events, it is imperative for people in affected areas to obtain accurate information. People using social media make a conscious decision to trust, act on, propagate or disregard emergency-relevant information. However, local government, in general, has not developed agreed upon ways to use social media in emergencies. This study documents how emergency management was able to successfully partner with local media and utilize social media to develop important relationships with the affected community via social media in emergencies. The study demonstrates a way to successfully utilize social media during disaster events in several ways: by closing a feedback loop between first responders and the public, by monitoring information flow, and by providing regular updates to the public.