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Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management

Editor-in-Chief: Renda-Tanali, Irmak, D.Sc.

Managing Editor: McGee, Sibel, Ph.D.

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Social Media and Crisis Communications: A Survey of Local Governments in Florida

Stephen R. Neely / Matthew Collins
Published Online: 2018-02-27 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/jhsem-2016-0067


Social media platforms are increasingly being used by public agencies and emergency managers to communicate with the public in times of crisis. However, while the adoption of these technologies has been well documented at the federal level, little is known empirically about the extent to which social media are being utilized for emergency management communications by local agencies, and less still is known about how rates of adoption vary based on the organizational and demographic characteristics of local municipalities. This exploratory study provides an empirical analysis of social media use by local municipalities in the State of Florida and examines the organizational and demographic factors related to social media adoption for emergency and crisis communications. The study suggests that social media are still underutilized by local agencies in many regards. Findings also indicate that larger municipalities which serve younger, more highly educated populations are more likely to adopt social media for crisis communications, while agencies representing traditionally under-served populations are less likely to utilize social media for these same purposes. The implications of these findings are discussed, particularly the role of higher education in preparing public administrators and emergency managers for careers in a networked society.

Keywords: crisis communications; Facebook; local government; social media; Twitter


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About the article

Published Online: 2018-02-27

Citation Information: Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, Volume 15, Issue 1, 20160067, ISSN (Online) 1547-7355, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/jhsem-2016-0067.

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