Ideas Workbench

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American Red Cross has again undertaken research to work with, this time on social media in disasters. Unlike past surveys in Australia and US, half of the respondents were selected by random sampling and called on the phone. The other half of the 2000 respondents were already online.

Key points: 1. Just under half of the general US population participates in social media 2. Nearly 79% of the US online community participates in a social network 3. Across both populations, it is households with children, college-educated and younger residents that are more likely to participate in social media

This means that communicators have work to do at both ends - using social media to get messages out and also educating people on how social media can be the best source of information.

Read a summary of the research here:

Barbara Ryan, USQ, 1/9/11

From Patrice Cloutier on Dec. 4, 2011:

Another set of reasons why organizations should integrate social media into their emergency management and crisis communications plans. In fact, it has now become essential for the very survival of groups, agencies and organization involved in a crisis.

Do you have examples of events that were amplified by social media?

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