PDM Events

Social Media for Disaster Relief

June 28, 2012

On May 22, 2011, the city of Joplin, MO, was hit by an extremely powerful tornado. 160 people were killed and about 1,000 injured, and the area suffered $2.8 billion in damages, with more than 7,000 houses destroyed. Less than two hours after the tornado hit, volunteers created the Joplin Tornado Info website and Facebook pages and started collecting and sharing information to help the recovery effort.

On this call, we'll talk with Genevieve Williams and David Burton, two of the key volunteers who worked on JTI, and who have written (with Rebecca Williams) a valuable in-depth guide called "The Use of Social Media for Disaster Recovery." Genevieve Williams is a social media and web marketing strategist. David Burton is the country program director for the Greene County Extension Center and a civic communication specialist for MU Extension.

With their help, we'll explore what happens to a community after a disaster strikes, and look at how people can use social media wisely to aid in relief. How best to integrate information from official and unofficial sources? How to navigate the thicket of charitable aid organizations that flood in to a community in response to a crisis? How do you manage information overload and make sure vital facts are where people need to find them? What are the strengths and weaknesses of using Facebook pages to manage community sharing of information?

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