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The evolving symbiotic relationship between social media and emergency management: An exploration into the value of social media for emergency responders in the UK

The evolving symbiotic relationship between social media and emergency management: An exploration into the value of social media for emergency responders in the UK
The evolving symbiotic relationship between social media and emergency management: An exploration into the value of social media for emergency responders in the UK
This thesis contributes to the field of social media within emergency management, helping us to better understand the value of social media for emergency responders.

Social media have become an integral part of emergency management. Opportunities to increase situational awareness, improve emergency communications, and engage the public in preparedness and resilience-building activities are advocated ubiquitously in the literature. However, the impact upon emergency management resulting from emergency responders’ social media use is presently inconclusive.

Utilising a mixed methods approach, perceptions of both UK emergency responders and their followers are considered. Emergency responders’ objectives and desired outcomes for using social media are explored. The views and motivations of their followers are then provided, offering insights into the possible impacts of emergency responders’ social media use upon emergency management. This research demonstrates that social media value for emergency responders depends on a combination of their intentions, online behaviour, and level of engagement from their followers. Future assessments must go further than judging emergency responders’ ability to effectively communicate in an emergency. Their ability to influence behaviour and perceptions through social media must be examined. The followers’ motivations and perceptions also need to be understood; it emerged that social media are not merely confined to developing relationships between emergency responders and the public, but also between emergency responders themselves. It is recommended that, going forward, research in this field continue to employ a mixed methods approach.

This research proposes a conceptual, multifaceted framework named SMOKE, which could serve two purposes: a guideline for future assessment of emergency responders’ social media usage and a training/strategy tool for emergency responders to help guide their social media activity. Further, an abstract model of potential value is presented, which advocates three core roles social media could play in emergency management: from an information hub to an educational platform and, ultimately to a channel of influence and community spirit.
University of Southampton
Parsons, Sophie
4b65648f-7530-43df-a606-7cfac750e046
Parsons, Sophie
4b65648f-7530-43df-a606-7cfac750e046
Weal, Mark
e8fd30a6-c060-41c5-b388-ca52c81032a4

Parsons, Sophie (2019) The evolving symbiotic relationship between social media and emergency management: An exploration into the value of social media for emergency responders in the UK. University of Southampton, Doctoral Thesis, 220pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

This thesis contributes to the field of social media within emergency management, helping us to better understand the value of social media for emergency responders.

Social media have become an integral part of emergency management. Opportunities to increase situational awareness, improve emergency communications, and engage the public in preparedness and resilience-building activities are advocated ubiquitously in the literature. However, the impact upon emergency management resulting from emergency responders’ social media use is presently inconclusive.

Utilising a mixed methods approach, perceptions of both UK emergency responders and their followers are considered. Emergency responders’ objectives and desired outcomes for using social media are explored. The views and motivations of their followers are then provided, offering insights into the possible impacts of emergency responders’ social media use upon emergency management. This research demonstrates that social media value for emergency responders depends on a combination of their intentions, online behaviour, and level of engagement from their followers. Future assessments must go further than judging emergency responders’ ability to effectively communicate in an emergency. Their ability to influence behaviour and perceptions through social media must be examined. The followers’ motivations and perceptions also need to be understood; it emerged that social media are not merely confined to developing relationships between emergency responders and the public, but also between emergency responders themselves. It is recommended that, going forward, research in this field continue to employ a mixed methods approach.

This research proposes a conceptual, multifaceted framework named SMOKE, which could serve two purposes: a guideline for future assessment of emergency responders’ social media usage and a training/strategy tool for emergency responders to help guide their social media activity. Further, an abstract model of potential value is presented, which advocates three core roles social media could play in emergency management: from an information hub to an educational platform and, ultimately to a channel of influence and community spirit.

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Sophie Parsons Thesis - Version of Record
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More information

Published date: February 2019

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 433552
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/433552
PURE UUID: 9ac36c8f-6b6b-4d64-922a-d905d65e9208
ORCID for Sophie Parsons: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-2713-6448
ORCID for Mark Weal: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-6251-8786

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 27 Aug 2019 16:30
Last modified: 08 Nov 2019 01:38

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