Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Public Health (Dr.PH.)

Degree Granting Department

Community and Family Health

Major Professor

Karen Perrin, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Julie Baldwin, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Dinorah Martinez-Tyson, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Patrick Gardner, RN, MPH, EMT


Crowdsourcing, DIKW Hierarchy, Information Science, Library Science, Situational Awareness


The emergence of mobile technologies and social media applications has led to a shift in the emergency/disaster related communication environment. Citizens are playing an increasingly important role in providing real time information to emergency organizations. This shift has resulted in an expectation by the public that emergency management (EM) organizations monitor and respond to calls for help disseminated via these applications. The purpose of this study is to explore the extent to which Florida EM agencies have incorporated the monitoring of social media into their organizational processes.

The state of social media use in Florida is under researched. In this explanatory sequential design study, Florida EM personnel was surveyed using the CNA Analyst/National Emergency Management Association (NEMA) survey (Su et. al, 2012) on the use of social media in EM. Subsequently, a subset of respondents was interviewed to determine to what extent they have incorporated the monitoring of social media into their organizational processes.

Several recommendations can be made related to the use of social media in emergency management in Florida. Each of these is discussed in detail: 1.) Reverse mentoring programs; 2.) Development of social media policies; 3.) Continue to attend trainings and conferences; 4.) Explore promising practices; and 5.) Social marketing campaigns for citizens.

Overall, it appears that Florida has an immature yet evolving system for use of social media in emergency management. While Florida EM agencies are knowledgeable about social media in general, they lack policies, systems, and staff to take full advantage of social media as a tool in emergency management. As more training is offered, and promising practices are shared, systems will likely continue to evolve. The evolution of systems within agencies will depend largely on leadership attitudes, organizational policies, and staffing resources.

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