Volunteers’ Perceptions of the Use of Social Media in Emergency Management

Bjørn Erik Munkvold, Mats Flaten, Robin P. Nguyen

ABSTRACT

The paper presents the results of interviews with representatives from Norwegian emergency management volunteer organizations on their current use of social media and their perception of the potential for extended use of social media in their operations. Our study shows that social media is currently mainly used for information to the public and for internal communication. The informants expressed some reluctance towards the concept of virtual operations support teams, and using social media to collect information from the public. Yet, based on the possible benefits reported in the literature from studies of early adopters of digital volunteer groups, we argue in this paper for establishing a similar service at the regional level in Norway that can support the local volunteer organizations.

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