Social Media in Complex Emergencies: A Rapid Guide

The Communication and Complex Emergencies Project is a multi-phase collaboration between the University of Adelaide’s Applied Communication Collaborative Research Unit and the Australian Civil-Military Centre. The current phase of the project focuses on a range of new information and communication technologies (ICTs) and digital platforms and their role in supporting emergency and humanitarian relief and assistance processes during complex emergencies.

This guidance paper examines the use of social media during complex emergencies. Globally, social media use occurs on a massive scale. In 2017 there are close to 2 billion Facebook, 1.3 billion YouTube, 600 million Instagram, 467 million LinkedIn, 375 million Google+, 313 million Twitter and 166 million Snapchat users. While social media use is extensive in the developed world, it is also rapidly extending to developing world contexts as cost barriers to accessing Internet-capable mobile telecommunications are steadily lowered.

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