Title

How Social Media Is Used During Natural Disasters, Environmental Disasters, and Other Environmental Concerns: A Scoping Review

Document Type

Presentation

Publication Date

12-15-2015

Abstract

Background: Social media is a major source for information and an important place for keeping in contact with family and friends. More recently, social media has been used during natural disasters, environmental disasters, and other environmental concerns for a variety of reasons. We conducted a literature review to examine how social media (i.e. Twitter, Facebook, etc.) is used during these environmental concerns and determine what the implications are for public health officials.

Methods: We searched three databases (Web of Science, EBSCOhost, and PubMed) with 23 specific keywords to find relevant papers. A total of 3,198 papers were identified. After screening for relevant, English-language papers in scholarly and peer-reviewed journals and removing duplicates, 34 papers were retrieved for review.

Findings: From these articles, four main questions were answered. How can social media be used to disseminate information to others? How is social media used for data prediction and early warnings? How is social media used for environmental awareness and health promotion? Lastly, how can social media be used as an indicator of public participation in social media during environmental concerns? Many themes were found among social media posts which varied by type of disaster, time of post (before, during, or after disaster), and demographic characteristics of the users.

Implications for D&I Research: We found evidence supporting social media as a useful tool during natural disasters, environmental disasters, and other environmental concerns. Public health officials can use social media as a tool to not only gain insight into public opinion and perceptions, but also to more efficiently disseminate information to the general public. Social media allows public health workers and emergency responders to act more quickly and efficiently during crises. Further research is needed to improve the use of social media during natural disasters, environmental disasters, and other environmental concerns.

Sponsorship/Conference/Institution

Academy Health Annual Conference on the Science of Dissemination and Implementation in Health

Location

Washington, DC

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