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Social media in crisis management and public health emergencies

Description:

In Boston we took the availability and quality of our tap water for granted until May 1, 2010, when a major water pipe break interrupted water service to two million Greater Boston residents.

Information spread quickly to citizens about the problem and what to do, all the more notable because the water main break occurred on a Saturday. In this age of consumer paranoia about withheld information, the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) was in front of cameras and online, communicating what they knew and what they were doing.

Tufts University and the Boston Public Health Commission used communication channels ranging from Twitter to megaphones to get the word out. Their behind-the-scenes emergency planning processes, their response to this incident, and seven lessons learned from this short-lived crisis are applicable to many other crises.

Toolkit:

Communications Toolkit

Keyword Area:

Risk Communication, Social Media, Water Quality

Jurisdiction:

500,000 - 749,999

Institutional Author:

Lisa Gualtieri, PhD, ScM

Submitted:

06/28/2010

Modified:

06/28/2010

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