Crises comes in different forms and can have a lasting effect on an individual’s life. With the rise of mass and social media the way we receive information has increased throughout the years. People are more aware of what is happening now during a crisis. Events such as The BP oil spill that happened on April 20, 2010 and the 9.00 magnitude earthquake that struck Japan on March 11th are just a couple events that made headlines in the news. This spark in nedia interest from both social and mass media’s.
With such drastic events as these two and many more that happened before and after they bring a certain spotlight to both media’s. Eventually leading to more public interest because people can find more information with the use of social and mass media’s.
People get information differently when it comes to using mass media and social media that involve crisis communication. Fearn-Banks (2002) suggest that “Crisis communication is verbal, visual, and or written interaction between the organization and its stakeholders (often through the media) prior to, during and after a negative occurrence” (p.
480). Crisis events are now broadcasted in areas more globally such as remote areas of the world which are now accessible to the media. They are being connected to 24-hour networks. Through new technologies, delays between an incident and the resulting media coverage are unlikely and the media have a heightened interest in crises because crises are essentially dramatic and negative and therefore newsworthy (Ashcroft, 1997; Heath, 2010). These drastic events cause public interest and bring more attention and viewers to certain news networks.
Mass media plays a special role in providing information and making people aware of a situation during a crisis (Ghassabi F, & Zare-Farashbandi F, 2015).
The news media are drawn to crises and are a useful way to reach a wide array of the public rather quickly (Coombs, 2007). Not only does mass media relay information regarding an event the essentially place themselves in the middle of it to get better coverage and to get the reactions of those who are there, “the media are not satisfied only in the description, but participate actively in the construction of the event itself and the ways of reaction and the ways of response and face of the crisis situation” (Stavros). As well as covering stories that they feel people will be most drawn to because mass media networks tend to pay close attention and emphasize more on two general categories which are major disasters and statements or events that cause panic and anxiety (Stavros) The availability of new media has increased dramatically in the last decade and has expanded the communication options for organizations during a crisis (Coombs, 2007).
Social media tools such as blogs, twitter, and YouTube is also increasingly used to distribute messages and establish dialogue. A 2010 study, Pew internet study found that nearly one -third of online adults that use these platforms such as blogs, social networking sites, online video, etc (Smith, 2010a). These new media platforms are at low cost or free forums for the expression of ideas, information, and opinion. Offering more opportunities to communicate and new avenues for global outreach during crisis communication (Wright & Hinson, 2009). Another way that social media can be used for is scanning signs of a developing crisis (Stephens & Malone, 2010). Recently there has been much interest in the use of social media during crisis communication. A wide range of studies suggests that information sharing networks such as twitter for instance, is useful during the time a crisis has occurred. It quickly and effectively disseminating relevant news (Viewg et al., 2010).
Twitter is a free social networking app where you can post tweets on multiple devices such as your phone, tablet, and computer. With similar features to other online social networking sites such as updating their status and social connections with other users (Huberman et al., 2008). Java et al. (2007) found that people tweeted mostly to tell others what they’re doing, engaging in conversations with other users and report news. Twitter was extremely effective during the disaster that occurred in Japan in 2010. Two weeks after the Tohoku earthquake and the devastating tsunami, opened-ended questionnaires were sent out randomly to a selected sample of twitter users. Those tweets were analyzed based on from where they were sent from the area that had been hit by the disaster (Acar, A. & Muraki Y, 2011). Acar and Muraki (2011) found that people directly affected by the areas tended to tweet about their unsafe and uncertain situation. While people in remote areas post messages to let their followers know that they are safe.
Miles and Huberman (1994) suggested that human discourse and action can be better explained with qualitative methods instead of the methods of natural sciences. Both of the authors stated: “with qualitative data one can preserve chronological flow, see precisely which events led to which consequences, and derive fruitful explanations… Words, Especially organized into incidents or stories, have a concrete, vivid, meaningful flavor that often proves far more convincing to a reader- another researcher, a policy maker, practitioner – than pages of summarized numbers.” (p.1)