A Guide for Social media Usage in Earthquake should be prepared

The events after the Kahramanmaraş Pazarcık centered earthquake once again revealed the importance of using new communication technologies, especially in disaster situations. Highlighting that especially those who are under the debris call for help via social media, experts also emphasize the importance of the correct use of new technologies. Emphasizing the importance of informing the society quickly and healthily, the experts also underline that a social media coordination center should be established quickly and a social media usage guide should be prepared in case of an earthquake.

Be careful when using new communication technologies during disasters!

Üsküdar University Faculty of Communication Journalism Department Lecturer Assoc. Prof. Bahar Muratoğlu Pehlivan evaluated the importance of new communication technologies and especially social media in terms of communication in disaster situations such as earthquakes.

Assoc. Prof. Bahar Muratoğlu Pehlivan noted that the use of new communication technologies can be of vital importance as a communication tool, especially in disaster situations such as earthquakes.

It is useful for informing the public

Stating that new communication technologies play an important role especially in terms of informing and communicating with the public, Assoc. Prof. Bahar Muratoğlu Pehlivan said that “For example, social media has become an important tool in terms of informing the public quickly and publishing their statements by relevant institutions, official organizations, experts and reliable sources.”.

Calling for help can be done via social media

Stating that individuals can also communicate through mobile tools and online platforms in emergencies, Assoc. Prof. Bahar Muratoğlu Pehlivan said that “In addition, images and information can be sent from places where the authorities, rescue teams and journalists have not yet reached, and social media can be used when assistance is needed. We see examples of this in the last Kahramanmaraş earthquake we experienced.”.

These points should be paid attention!

Emphasizing that it is extremely important to use these technologies correctly and efficiently to get the maximum benefit from communication technologies, Assoc. Prof. Bahar Muratoğlu Pehlivan listed the points that should be considered in the use of communication technologies in disaster situations such as earthquakes:

  • Emergency notifications should be turned on.
  • SMS and online platforms should be preferred for communication.
  • Phone calls made in mandatory situations should be kept short and wasting the charge of mobile vehicles should be avoided.
  • Security status check tools enabled by social media platforms should be used.
  • Accounts of trusted institutions, official sources, confirmation and verification platforms must be followed.
  • It should always be kept in mind that unconfirmed, unidentified sources and statements that are not based on concrete data may not be correct, and such content should be approached skeptically.
  • Avoid being a meditator in the spread of manipulative, misleading and incorrect information, fake news, and content that will cause panic among the public.
  • Images containing sensitive content should not be shared, especially uncensored.
  • It must be paid attention to whether the accounts that make statements on social media are in a position to access relevant expertise and information.
  • Social media can be used as a transmitter (radiotelephone) to reach authorities or people in a particular area in an emergency.
  • You can search for tweets sent from a specific region by finding geographic coordinates on Google Maps.
  • You can find posts from the region with the location notification features of various social media platforms.

It is important to inform the society quickly and healthily!

Üsküdar University Communication Faculty Journalism Department Head Prof. Süleyman İrvan, on the other hand, expressed the importance of accurate information flow in the earthquake and said the following statements:

“When there is an earthquake, citizens try to find out what is going on as soon as possible. This is also very normal. We may have relatives and friends in the earthquake area. Naturally, we would like to know their state as soon as possible. In such extraordinary situations, it is important to inform the society quickly and accurately. If there is no healthy information flow and communication channels do not work, conspiracy theories and unbelievable rumors can come into play, which can lead to the spread of panic in the society.”.

A social media coordination center should be established…

Stating that the importance of social media was understood more in the last earthquake, Prof. Süleyman İrvan said that “People can make social media posts from under the rubble and call for help. However, unfortunately it is not possible for us to know how much of these calls for help are real and how many are fake. My suggestion is to quickly establish a social media coordination center and establish a mechanism to verify the accuracy of the calls made. Instead of restricting social media, we can make it more useful. Official statements should also be made uninterruptedly through social media channels and citizens should be provided with reliable information.”.

A Guide for Social media Usage in Earthquake should be prepared…

Lastly, Prof. Süleyman İrvan made the following suggestion:

“Türkiye is an earthquake-prone country and we need to learn to live with earthquakes. Moreover, a guide should be prepared on how we should use social media when an earthquake occurs. A guide on how to use social media can be very useful just like in a format of what we should do in an earthquake. For example, we should not retweet posts that we are not sure of their accuracy and whose source we do not know.”.

Üsküdar News Agency (ÜNA)