Today information and communication technologies (ICTs) have a large and sometimes decisive importance for communication during social crises. Examples of this can be seen at incidents of completely different character, which have occurred both in Sweden and in other parts of the world:
- During the tsunami disaster in Southeast Asia in 2004 mobile phones and web sites were of great importance, both for the news media and for people's ability to regain contact with friends and relatives.
- During the swine flu pandemic in 2009, lively discussions about vaccination risks went on in social media. At the same time Swedish authorities made data on adverse reactions from vaccinations publicly available on the internet.
- At the popular uprisings in the Middle East in 2011 various forums on the Internet were crucial to people's ability to formulate strategies and inform each other of new actions.
- At the Oslo bomb disaster and the massacre at Utøya in 2011 information about what happened was available in social media practically in real time.
The list of examples could be much longer, and include such forms of communication as Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Flashback and several others.
That new media has the potential to affect the progression of crises is evident. The question is rather in what way this happens , and what impact they have on, society's ability to handle the situation.
The aim of the research project Crisis communication 2.0 is to contribute to the description and analysis of ICTs impact on society's communication during crises. The project intends to study the way of relating to the new forms of communication by the authorities, the news media and the public.
Methods used are interviews and questionnaire surveys focused on the various actors´ attitudes to, and use of, digital forms of media in everyday life and, especially in relation to social crises of various kinds.
Participants in the project:
Tomas Odén, project manager
Martin Spaak, Project Assistant