Red Cross and UN release guide on how to use social media in emergencies

How to Use Social Media to Better Engage People Affected by Crises Over the last few months, I have worked with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) on a short guide to help humanitarian organizations use social media to improve communications with people and communities who are living through a natural disaster or conflict. The guide, which also received support from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), is being released today.

The idea behind the document is really simple:

  • People use social media during crises, so disaster responders need to listen to what people are saying and use social media to respond to concerns and queries.
  • Information and feedback gathered through social media has to be shared with those who are responsible for the response (i.e. programmes) so that they can improve how they are responding.
  • Those who have provided feedback/information need to hear how their feedback/information was used.

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While this might look obvious, doing so in the middle of a crisis is not trivial. That is why the 20-page guide “How to Use Social Media to Better Engage People Affected by Crises” focuses a lot on how to prepare for an emergency so that you can use social media effectively when needed.

Be social media ready

The guide is primarily written for people in humanitarian organizations who have social media as one of their responsibilities, but who are not able to draw on a whole social media team to manage a crisis. The focus is on concrete, practical advice to make their work easier. For people who want to delve deeper, I included a large number of links to the best resources I know.

While writing the document I also received input from staff and consultants working for BBC Media Action, the Red Cross Global Disaster Preparedness Center, Indonesian Red Cross, Internews, IRC, Facebook, Kenya Red Cross, the Syrian Red Crescent, Trilateral Research, Twitter and UNHCR. Thank you!

You can download “How to Use Social Media to Better Engage People Affected by Crises” here.

The document is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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