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Emergency preparedness collaboration on Twitter

DeeDee Bennett, PhD


Agency collaboration is an important function in the management of disasters and catastrophes. For effective emergency management, the need for intergovernmental collaboration grows as the scale of the disaster increases. Several researchers have examined the use of social media by emergency management (and other governmental agencies) during large-scale disasters; however, few have examined the use of social media for intergovernmental collaboration. This study explores the use of social media platforms as a means to establish and maintain intergovernmental collaboration for emergency management-related agencies. More salient is the focus on social media during the preparedness and planning stages of emergency management. Using qualitative observational and coding analysis, this study identifies the types of connections made by topic, level of governance, and established affiliation in the local emergency operations plan (LEOP). The findings show that more than 50 percent of the connections made were established on Twitter and not present in the current LEOP. Furthermore, the most popular topic to initiate online connections was related to public education information. The findings from this study can assist emergency management practitioners in developing social media strategies, which incorporate methods to connect with other agencies on Twitter.


social media, emergency management, intergovernmental collaboration, Twitter, emergency communications

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