Our fabulous colleague (and co-author of the Queensland floods report) Frances Shaw came up to Brisbane this week to participate in a crisis communication workshop at Griffith University. Here are her impressions from the workshop, and her presentation:
On 25 and 26 June I represented the Mapping Online Publics team at the Talk about Disasters Workshop at Griffith University, Brisbane. The workshop brought together a diverse group of researchers from a wide range of disciplines and work backgrounds, from policy and government to media studies, cultural anthropology, education, and early childhood. The workshop’s overarching theme was how disaster is talked about before, during, and after disasters, and why this is important.
My presentation focussed on these aspects of talk on Twitter during the Queensland floods. Rather than focussing on the @QPSMedia account as in previous presentations, I looked at the overall #qldfloods hashtag and the kind of talk that was going on in that sample. The presentation engaged in particular with discussion at the workshop around the themes of sense-making and storytelling about disaster, and the extent to which disaster is personalised through personal narrative.
Through conversations about the floods on Twitter, participants engaged in the negotiation and framing of how the floods should be understood. Adjunctive discussion refers to the practice of using the crisis to explore other issues, and to frame those issues in relation to the crisis. Another subset of tweets were the meta-discussion tweets, where people talked on Twitter about why Twitter was so important during the crisis. One reason was that they felt that social media was important for crisis communication, sharing of situational information, and sharing information on how to help.