Social Media and Disaster Communication: A Case Study of Cyclone Winston

Pacific Journalism Review , 24(1), pp. 123-137, 2018

15 Pages Posted: 22 Aug 2018

See all articles by Glen Finau

Glen Finau

University of the South Pacific

Jope Tarai

University of the South Pacific

Renata Varea

University of the South Pacific

Jason Titifanue

University of the South Pacific; La Trobe University

Romitesh Kant

The University of the South Pacific, Suva

John Cox

Australian National University (ANU)

Date Written: July 31, 2018

Abstract

This article presents an analysis of how social media was used during Tropical Cyclone Winston, the strongest recorded tropical storm that left a wake of destruction and devastation in Fiji during February 2016. Social media is increasingly being used in crises and disasters as an alternative form of communication. Social media use in crisis communication varies according to the context, the disaster and the maturity of social media use. Fiji’s experience during TC Winston contributes to the growing literature as it shows how social media was used during each stage of a disaster in a developing country. The article finds that before the cyclone, people used social media to share information about the cyclone and to be informed about the cyclone. During the cyclone, individuals used social media to share their experiences with some citizens capturing the cyclone as it happened and even one citizen live-tweeted her ordeal during the cyclone. Finally, following the cyclone, the hashtag #StrongerThanWinston was coined as a rallying point to bolster a sense of national solidarity.

Keywords: Crisis Response, Cyclone Winston, Cyclones, Fiji, Disaster Communication, Pacific Islands, Social Media

Suggested Citation

Finau, Glen and Tarai, Jope and Varea, Renata and Titifanue, Jason and Kant, Romitesh and Cox, John, Social Media and Disaster Communication: A Case Study of Cyclone Winston (July 31, 2018). Pacific Journalism Review , 24(1), pp. 123-137, 2018 , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3229592

Glen Finau (Contact Author)

University of the South Pacific ( email )

Laucala Campus
Suva
Fiji

Jope Tarai

University of the South Pacific ( email )

Renata Varea

University of the South Pacific ( email )

Jason Titifanue

University of the South Pacific ( email )

La Trobe University

Institute for Human Security and Social Change
Victoria 3552, 3086
Australia

Romitesh Kant

The University of the South Pacific, Suva ( email )

John Cox

Australian National University (ANU) ( email )

Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 2601
Australia

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