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Social media, communications, local resilience forums, Crowdsourcing, crowdmapping
The potential uses of social media in the field of emergency preparedness, resilience and response (EPRR) are varied and interesting. The UK government have produced guidance documents for its use in the UK EPRR field but evidence of use is poorly documented and appears sporadic. This paper presents the results of a survey of Local Resilience Forums (LRF) in the UK on their use and engagement with social media. The findings suggest that the level of application of social media strategies as emergency planning or response tools varied significantly between the LRFs. While over 90 percent of respondents claimed that their LRF used social media as part of their strategy, most of this use was reactive or passive, rather than proactive and systematic. The various strategies employed seem to be linked most strongly to local expertise and the existence of social media ‘champions’ rather than to the directives and guidance emerging from government.