The role of social media as psychological first aid as a support to community resilience building. A Facebook study from 'Cyclone Yasi Update'.

Mel Taylor*, Garrett Wells, Gwyneth Howell, Beverley Raphael

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

106 Citations (Scopus)
41 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

In this paper we review data collected from an online, social media-administered survey developed to explore public use of social media during a series of natural disasters, predominantly in Australia and New Zealand, during January to March 2011. These data are then explored using examples taken from the experiences of those involved in administering the most widely-used community-driven Facebook page during these disasters, which focused on tropical cyclone Yasi ('Cyclone Yasi Update'). The survey was completed by 1146 respondents who had used social media in relation to the recent natural disasters. Data indicated that the public relied on a mix of formal and informal information sources, often using social media to re-post or re-tweet links from government websites felt to be of use to communities, thus acting as filters and amplifiers of 'official' information. This paper discusses how social media, specifically their core strengths of timely information exchange and promotion of connectedness, were able to act as sources of psychological first aid in the early stages of disaster and assist in supporting aspects of community resilience.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20-26
Number of pages7
JournalAustralian Journal of Emergency Management
Volume27
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2012
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2015. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.

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