Accession Number:



A Way Social Media Could Be Used to Augment Communication in a Natural Disaster

Descriptive Note:

Technical Report,14 Aug 2017,15 Jun 2018

Corporate Author:

US Army Command and General Staff College Fort Leavenworth United States

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In a natural disaster environment, it is important for the affected population to establish and maintain communication with first responders. In the event of cyber infrastructure loss and power outages, the existing emergency services may be overwhelmed with calls to provide communication between the affected population, volunteers, first responders, and government. Because of the wide usage availability, and interoperability with almost every device that has internet service, social media is identified as a way that could augment communication in a natural disaster. Social media represents one means of providing information from and to the affected population and the first responders before, during, and after a natural disaster. This paper examines some of the social media capabilities and cyber capabilities necessary for providing communications to the affected population, volunteers, first responders and the government in a natural disaster. Through case study analyses of different natural disasters, this paper describes the impact each disaster had on the affected populations ability to communicate, the status of the cyber infrastructure and some examples of successfully using social media during a natural disaster. The goal of the paper is to recognize gaps, and identify possible shortfalls of using social media during a natural disaster. The conclusion, with understanding the requirements and submitted recommendations, details a way to a more organized use of existing social media in order to support an affected population, and improve response and recovery capabilities of first responders.

Subject Categories:

  • Civil Defense
  • Non-Radio Communications

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