D2.2 Impact of Social Media on Emergency Services and citizens


Kerstin Junge, Thomas Spielhofer, Matt Gieve, Joe Cullen, David Drabble


This Deliverable develops and applies the concept of impact assessment based on a Theory of Change model presented in D2.1 [CSJD+14]. This is done by applying it to a particular case study – the 2011 London riots – as an initial iterative example of the use of social media in an emergency. Section 2 sets out the overarching case study methodology for this and subsequent deliverables – a multiple case study approach via Deliverables 2.2, 2.3 and 2.4 as part of which cases are selected to explore, confirm or disprove patterns identified and presented on the basis of initial case studies. Section 3 presents the first case study exemplar conducted as part of Tasks 2.2 and 2.3, focusing on a recent and well-documented emergency in the UK in which social media were used in different ways by citizens and Emergency Services (ES) – the 2011 London riots. It starts with a description of the context and background of the riots, and then presents the findings of a content analysis of primary and secondary evidence relating to the use and impact of social media on citizens and ES during and after the riots. Section 4 draws some initial conclusions from this case study to inform the developing Theory of Change, including our initial hypotheses on the use and impact of social media in emergencies. Finally, section 5 outlines the next steps in the research process – including the focus and rationale of the next round of case studies (flooding) and research instruments developed as part of this initial case study. It also provides an update of the Theory of Change expected impacts and outcomes based on a survey of research partners.

Purpose of the Document

This Deliverable contributes to Objective O1 of EmerGent – Analyze the impact of social media for citizens and for EMS in the whole Emergency Management Cycle (EMC) today and tomorrow. The specific objective of this Deliverable is to develop and update the Theory of Change presented in D2.1 and to carry out an initial case study to research the impact of social media on how ES respond and react in an emergency (Task 2.2) and how citizens use social media in an emergency, how they use it to interact with each other and others, including ES, and what impact this has on them (Task 2.3).