Title: Social media in disaster management: How social media impact the work of volunteer groups and aid organisations in disaster preparation and response

Authors: Oliver Mauroner; Anna Heudorfer

Addresses: Department of Management and Small Business, University of Applied Sciences Mainz, Lucy-Hillebrand-Straße 2, Mainz, 55128, Germany ' University of Hamburg, Schlüterstr. 51, Hamburg, 20146, Germany

Abstract: This study examines forms of social media use in disaster management, focusing on volunteer groups and aid organisations. This research interest emerged from observing several grassroots initiatives using social media to implement aid activities. Approaches to transforming organisations through network structures and to developing community building are applied to the field of disaster management. The aim is to investigate if collective actions via social media can lead to the development of virtual (aid) communities, and how these operate. Two disasters are examined as example cases: the flooding in Germany and the Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, both in 2013. Thirteen guided expert interviews are carried out and evaluated. The results show that social media use in disaster management reflects the general trend towards a strengthened participation of the population in public communication. Social media can, however, only be part of a more comprehensive strategy necessary for disaster response and early warning.

Keywords: disaster management; social media; participation; volunteering; disaster preparation; disaster response; grassroot initiatives; network effects; emergency management; volunteer groups; aid organisations; emergency preparation; emergency response; network structures; community building; collective actions; virtual communities; virtual aid communities; online communities; web based communities; flooding; typhoons; public participation; early warning; floods.

DOI: 10.1504/IJEM.2016.076625

International Journal of Emergency Management, 2016 Vol.12 No.2, pp.196 - 217

Received: 24 Jun 2015
Accepted: 25 Jan 2016

Published online: 16 May 2016 *

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