This study sets out to understand how social media is being used in disaster and emergency situations. Research thus far has established the importance of social media in disaster and crisis communication but neglects to describe why social media are important. To establish best practices of social media use in a disaster and why they should be used, this study interviewed six communication or social media experts in the field of disaster relief. The following four best practices were established: plan for social media use before a disaster occurs, utilize popular and relevant social media tools, localize disasters in social media use, and utilize mapping efforts. These best practices explain the best ways to utilize social media in disaster relief as well as explain why those tools will work best.
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