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Information Seeking and Sharing During a Flood: A Content Analysis of a Local Government’s Facebook Page
Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013), Karlstad Business School. (HumanIT)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-6227-1784
2014 (English)In: European Conference on Social Media (ECSM 2014) / [ed] A. Rospigliosi, S. Greener, UK: Academic Conferences Limited, 2014, Vol. 1, 305-311 p.Conference paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

In times of floodings and other natural disasters, timely and adequate information to the concerned public is vital to delimit damages, avoid panic, or sometimes even to save human lives. Lately, social media, such as Facebook, have become a vital and powerful channel for crisis communication, as a result of its remarkable diffusion. Recent disasters have shown that people turn to local government’s Facebook pages for information in a time of crisis. So far, few studies exist about what kind of information citizens seek and share on Facebook when a flood occurs. The purpose of this study is therefore to identify both the citizens’ requests for information from local government during a flooding event as well as the information that they share. An exploratory study of the communication on the City of Calgary’s Facebook page during the flood in June 2013 was performed. Content analysis of user posting was applied in order to identify recurrent topics. The results show that people in the early (acute) phase search for instructive information that would help them decide how, when, and where to evacuate. Information on road closures, preferably in the form of maps, was also a common request. Moreover, there were frequent requests for adjusting and reassuring information on the quality of the drinking water. Throughout the event, many also displayed an altruistic behavior as they wanted to know how they could volunteer or donate utilities to the victims. This was the most predominant theme in the user postings along with expressions of gratitude to the city’s mayor, emergency workers and volunteers. It is also apparent from the number of user postings that people turned to the Facebook page to seek for and share information in the initial stage of the flood.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
UK: Academic Conferences Limited, 2014. Vol. 1, 305-311 p.
Keyword [en]
Social media, Facebook, Disaster management, Flood, Crisis Communication, Content analysis
National Category
Information Systems, Social aspects
Research subject
Information Systems
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-38264ISBN: 978-1-63266-832-5OAI: diva2:865607
European Conference on Social Media (ECSM 2014), Brighton, United Kingdom, 10 – 11 July 2014
Available from: 2015-10-28 Created: 2015-10-28 Last updated: 2016-09-30

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Magnusson, Monika
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Karlstad Business School
Information Systems, Social aspects

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