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The Role of Social Media in Emergency Field and Crisis Management


Management of crisis refers to a censorious organizational task that entails the proper setting of plans and vital incidents concerning occurrences as they happen mainly in dubious and unpredictable means and ways. The surge outcome effects in line with the expected crisis consequently can result in undermining the ability of a country to operate normally and effectively. Over past years, the developments of social media tools and devices have significantly outshined the outlook considerably management of crises. Based on the availability of software tools such as news aggregators and online discussion platforms, organizations now can publicize, obtain, and analyze generated information more officiously. On the other hand, the social platform can intercept the occurrence of a crisis. Organizations cannot oppose their ability to steer an unfolding crisis.

On the other hand, social media can affect social-based movements’ politics and convey information generated; the independent use of technology under the circumstances cannot be criticized in terms of incitement. In the long run, media used as a device can cause obstructive outcomes. It can likewise give beneficial results through enhancements and acceleration of the velocity and the depth of conveyance of information if it is well and adequately utilized. The paper explores the use of media devices by non-governmental organizations and governmental organizations for preparedness, response, and recovery of crisis. It also out views the significant considerations and rumination for using social media devices appropriately through the phase of responding to a problem. Also, it pulls out best practices together with lessons for implementation to bind and strengthens crisis in government management potential using media tools and devices.

Understanding the landscape of social media

Social media, through interpretation, can be referred to as the appearance of new and modern media, which enhances and facilitates communication and social-based interaction by utilizing interrelated platforms (Houston et al., 2019). Social media devices can be grouped into; blogs and social media networks, collaborative projects, bookmarking area sites, and content communities. In variation with the traditional media forms and means, which are significantly biased in reach and confined and limited within the place of performance (Houston et al., 2019). These devices can widely conquer these emerging barriers due to the following characteristics, distinguishing them from other traditional forms of media. They include; connectivity, clarity, collectivity, collaboration, and completeness (Houston et al., 2019).

Applying social media to raise crisis management capabilities

In nature, crises and calamities are composite and complex, have inordinate impacts, and can progress and move at varying velocities (Arokiasamy et al., 2019). By utilizing the characteristic features of these media devices, organizational amplitude to display and demonstrate strength in line to responding to crises and barriers can be crucially facilitated by inventing new and advanced paths for the partnership to help build a more advanced flexible population (Arokiasamy et al., 2019). For instance, the information conveyed from blogs and social-based networks can easily be accessed and obtained by crisis responders and managers to aid in singling out the spring and the severity of the crisis and consequently disperse accordant information to the communities affected (Arokiasamy et al., 2019). Tagging and evaluating relevant resources and other links based on the suggestions by people on the sites, managers in charge of crisis control are more refined and able to look for information and acknowledge progressive developments which they rage (Arokiasamy et al., 2019).

Devices in social media can be utilized in intensifying given people’s amplitude in predicting and advancing preparations for the onset of crisis and calamities. For instance, collaborative and conjoint projects can be launched through social sites and platforms to equip people with interest with a profuse database and datasets to examine and attest information that could underpin intrusion and intervention changes during a crisis (Arokiasamy et al., 2019). Managers can also monitor and access closely contented communities in a situation to point out emerging and current trends and dominant hotspots and tectonic boundaries that suit flashpoints and extremity for crisis and challenges (Arokiasamy et al., 2019). Over time, managers in charge of problems can mine by exploring a database of labelled content gratified on sites to recognize pertinent themes and concerns expressed and conveyed in online sites and core generators to discern effective feedback for broader analysis and research. However, the following areas should be closely observed for organizations that are productive over utilizing media devices and tools to manage a crisis. They include; purpose, stakeholders, information and data content, treatment of information, software tools, and outputs (Arokiasamy et al., 2019).

With the emergence and creation of social media devices, the internet was primarily limited to accessing information (Arokiasamy et al., 2019). Handling a crisis effectively remains and depends on the managers in charge of the problem to collect and assemble accurate and specific information in line with the changing environment and the needs and requirements of the affected individuals across communities (Tuong, 2020). In producing helpful knowledge, future media tools and devices must be equipped with advanced robust capabilities and strengths to boost and enhance decision-making procedures based on timely limit discernments (Tuong, 2020). By accessing information and conveying it to a broader audience and listeners using media devices and tools, Simplicity outlines the need to deal with many parties, including individual citizens and NGOs.

Analysis of occurring and happening issues and their related effects can be relatively composite (Tuong, 2020). Focusing on discrete and separate data alone may not be sufficient to generate and give out valuable and meaningful insights to provide guidelines for shareholders’ responses (Tuong, 2019). New present social media accomplishments can help managers in charge of crisis analyze the affiliation of discrete and essential data and their linked relationships to provide and create a better and good understanding of arising issues and their related immediate outcome. Concerns on media security, privacy, and data confidentiality can result in recommendations to deduct the range of data interchange (Tuong, 2020).

Acquiring social media platforms and devices that support the clarity and transparency of information sharing can aid in the management of crisis procedures to fulfil the needs and requirements of information of all the shareholders engaged and raise the velocity of communicating bout the crisis (Tuong, 2020). An in-door system generally needs enough capital resource investment, which possesses natural obstacles to full incorporation with external systems (Houston et al., 2019). Thesemanagers examine how they can be able to leverage and be connected to the open-source platforms. In return, provide a variety of flexible devices to collect information and equip people with the required social media and user-created content management capabilities to supplement analytical procedures and workstreams (Houston et al., 2019).

Application of Social Media Tools across Emergency Management

Emergency management encompasses the following stages; crisis preparedness, response and recovery (Houston et al., 2019). In the crisis preparedness stage, emphasis is given to the activities that aim to stop well-known risks that can cause a disaster (Houston et al., 2019). Acknowledging that the emergency team cannot prevent every tragedy, there can be a similar centre of attention in this stage of emergency management, arrangement and the team’s preparation to be ready to tackle any emerging circumstance (Houston et al., 2019). For instance, in the emergence of floods, earthquakes, hurricanes and terror attacks, the emergency management teams should be prepared to combat it early. In the case of crisis response, the attention will be on how the emergency team effectively responds to the situation (Tuong, 2020). The Federal Emergency Management Agency is vested with the responsibility of preventing disasters from causing further harm to human beings and the environment (Houston et al., 2019). The agency should take the shortest time possible to come to where a crisis has happened to save lives. There is a need to inform the team quickly to be aware of the situation and intervene in the problem early (Arokiasamy et al., 2019). The eyewitnesses in the scene should be the first to use their social media platforms such as mobile phones, Facebook and even Twitter to communicate to the relevant authorities during a local emergency (Tuong, 2020). This method is very effective since most people nowadays own mobile phones, which is effective for communication earlier before things become worse. After the relevant authorities have responded to the emergency, crisis recovery should follow immediately (Houston et al., 2019). In this stage, long-term planning and assistance are fundamental requirements to restore the circumstance to normal. For instance, in a situation of terrorist attacks, the recovery team should assist in the reconstruction if, in any case, the buildings collapsed and people’s places of residence are destroyed. They should help the people settle and return to their normal conditions (Arokiasamy et al., 2019).

The Role of the Social Media in Emergency Management

Social media plays a significant role during an emergency. For instance, disseminating information to the relevant emergency teams requires social media platforms so that the intended person will receive the information on time (Houston et al., 2019). Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and mobile devices ensure that trustworthy information is passed quickly to the public members to make them aware and get prepared and respond to an emergency urgently (Houston et al., 2019). Therefore, social media is essential for informing the emergency team and the people so that they should be careful on the coming crisis. Detection of an eruption of earthquakes by experts will be of importance to the people since they are given an early warning before it occurs (Tuong, 2020). For example, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) is in a position to provide early caution for the quick reaction to the complex humane crisis (Tuong, 2020). It is based on the details collected due to the OCHA’s digital sites like Relief Web and IRIN news services targeted to give more information to more people to be ready for the coming disaster (Houston et al., 2019). However, the successful use of social media platforms will significantly depend on the public members’ reach and literacy (Tuong, 2020).

These platforms also depend on the age, culture, and language of the people involved in the communication process (Arokiasamy et al., 2019). Social media also plays an essential role in disaster planning and training. For example, social gaming supports media for organization and preparation to support and train the emergency team to acquire the necessary skills to manage a disaster smoothly (Houston et al., 2019). The aim is also to partner with other agencies from the public sector, civil society organizations, and the private sector to assist each other in managing crises (Tuong, 2020). In this case, the United States emergency team, FEMA, collaborates with other organizations such as the World Bank to bring experts in disaster management to point out the significant problems and develop long-lasting solutions (Houston et al., 2019). They do these by coming together and holding a conversation to establish ways to conquer many situations in line with natural calamities’ threats and take action towards them.

Social media also helps in cooperative decision-making and problem-solving. Crowdfunding through the digital platforms eases solving problems together as a team and making decisions by connecting different details from websites and mobile devices to fill the missing information and examine the needs of the people (Arokiasamy et al., 2019). As the skills go higher, the administration will be in a better position to control and take action to solve a variety of disasters (Houston et al., 2019). For instance, the United States Institute of Peace responder gathers details to enhance their circumstances awareness. More decisive actions are made on the distribution of materials based on upcoming changes (Houston et al., 2019). Collection of further information on the footage in the scene, reporting the citizen’s welfare, and crisis examination are significant when gathering information.

Some television programs use a program belonging to the community connected to the email, text messages, and Smartphone applications to give a chance to the citizens to air their views concerning the continuing growth and developments (Arokiasamy et al., 2019). Different international and government agencies have tried to use social platforms to improve their abilities in disaster control (Houston et al., 2019). For example, the City’s Office in New York of Emergency Management applies Sahana to control dangerous crises by using protective strategies, including more than 500 shelters that can house more than 80,000 people at the time of emergency (Tuong, 2020). These shelters will enable homeless people to have a place to reside due to the crisis to be relocated and wait for the reconstruction period. Moreover, the software has been designed so that people are in a position to post the reports given out by eyewitnesses when a disaster emerges, which is then translated onto a map to obtain information from the members of the public on the scene help them get relief services (Houston et al., 2019).

Capability Development during Emergency Management

Early awareness of a crisis is helpful because the emergency team can control it before causing a lot of destruction. The emergency response team should invent ways of detecting a disaster earlier to combat it before worsening (Houston et al., 2019). It will need an effective sense-making program that regularly detects digital platforms and meetings. The emergency teams should also put in place active conversations and involvement with the society and groups engaged in social media platforms to support technology experts during an emergency (Tuong, 2020). Improvement in handling crises is also significant. The emergency team can do these by contributing resources to aid those engaging in giving out information, crisis organization, and training (Houston et al., 2019).

Additionally, solving problems collaboratively and the wise making of decisions and gathering detailed information within the group will significantly aid in ensuring that duties are done in a better way when an emergency occurs (Arokiasamy et al., 2019). The use of social media platforms should be in line with the government legal procedures in improving emergency preparedness, responding, and the efforts at recovering the situation (Houston et al., 2019). The Integrated Public Alert and Feedback System include digital platforms that give room for high quality and direct conversation from the government to the public members (Houston et al., 2019). It also enables the public to forward the same meaningful information to improve government work in emergency times when required (Houston et al., 2019). Measuring activities is also of vital importance during the time crisis. Applying the best indicators to control the use of the social media platforms will significantly help direct governments to assess the overall emergency management strategies in place that render support to the social media tools (Houston et al., 2019). Therefore, better response during an emergency to any crisis involves the collaboration between different agencies with the people so that early alerts are given out for early intervention (Houston et al., 2019). Posting any critical information on social media gives an additional way to reach out to the citizens who are following what is happening and share the same awareness to others to take care of the circumstance (Arokiasamy et al., 2019). It is essential to know that we can never have a prediction on the local disasters, but the best we can do is to prepare for them at all times (Houston et al., 2019). People can do this by integrating social media platforms into the emergency communication strategy and ensuring one can use the digital way to communicate to others in times of emergency (Houston et al., 2019). Moreover, making the best use of the technology during such times by not threatening others but sensitizing them only. These traits will keep citizens aware of challenging crises (Tuong, 2020).


Increasingly, more people are using their smartphones to explore the world online. Surpassing the time spent using traditional media would be necessary to carefully consider how social media and its device applications and usage can be consolidated, integrated, and coordinated into a crisis problem management platform to manage the problems successfully. Swiftly advancing to technologies for managing crises provides individual citizens with more significant and more responsibility in preparing, addressing, managing issues which in return results will aid in building adaptable and flexible communities.


Arokiasamy, Kwaider, S., & Balaraman, R. A. (2019). Best Practices for Crisis Communication: A Qualitative Study. Global Business and Management Research11(SI 2), 141–150.

Houston, Schraedley, M. K., Worley, M. E., Reed, K., & Saidi, J. (2019). Disaster journalism: fostering citizen and community disaster mitigation, preparedness, response, recovery, and resilience across the disaster cycle. Disasters43(3), 591–611.



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