Citizen responsibility to use new technologies and social media for support activities in disasters


Rather than trust as a motivator for social media usage, some participants perceived it as their civic duty to use the (online) tools available: “We can improve reactivity in case of a disaster. We need to take advantage of new possible ways of communication. There are no barriers anymore. We cannot only limit ourselves to a call saying that there is a fire, for instance. It is a personal responsibility but we need to use these things. It would also be motivating” (G1-P3). Others described how they first used social media or mobile phone apps out of curiosity, but the information they gathered had a lasting effect: “I downloaded an app “Earthquakes in Italy”, as I wanted to investigate how many earthquake affect our country. At 9 o’clock in the morning there are sixty earthquakes nobody is aware of. To me, this helped me raising my awareness toward the issue” (G3-P5). Again others outlined the possibility of interaction with authorities: “I find the interaction with the institutions very interesting. They usually reply to me. This increases trust towards the institutions I’m talking to” (G4-P6). In particular the latter statement shows how shortcomings in the interaction between citizens and authorities, which are perceived to occur in the “offline world”, are seen to be less prevalent when communicating online.

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