Social media has played a big role in the Queensland floods from being a useful source of information for those dealing with the floods first hand to letting people in other areas of Australia know how they can help.
The good and bad of social media
At first social media was criticised for spreading false rumours, such as the tweets about Brisbane evacuating all residents but later the police media unit began publishing ‘flood myth-buster’ tweets that earned them praise in local and national newspapers.
When Queensland Police saw the widespread use of the hashtag #qldfloods on Twitter, they adopted the trend and used it as a primary information source. The Brisbane City Council, the ABC and tens of thousands of people then did the same.
Information about road closures, flood warnings, offers of assistance and ways to donate were all delivered through Twitter and Facebook. Social media became an important communication tool, particularly for people whose power or telephone lines had been cut off by the floods but who still had access to their smart phones.
When social media peaked
How social media was being used was measured and it was found that peak periods of tweeting often coincided with flood peaks, making it a vital news source alongside newspapers, television and radio. The research by the ARC Centre for Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation found that when the flooding reached its peak in Brisbane, up to 1200 tweets every hour were recorded.
This goes to show how social media has become integrated into our news consumption and our everyday communication. The differences between Twitter and Facebook also came in to play, where Twitter was used for widespread, fast communication of information, Facebook was used for providing detailed information, such as coordinating activities and contacting flood-affected friends and family.
In this situation social media proved to be just as essential for providing information as newspapers and television and is a great example of how using social media in conjunction with traditional media means your messages will reach more people and have greater impact.
Sydney Public Relations Agency, CP Communications provides specialist media, traditional and online PR strategies that get amazing results. Contact us today. For more great tips visit our website www.cpcommunications.com.au.