The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), with support from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), have published a brief guide on how to use social media to better engage people affected by crisis. The guide is geared towards staff in humanitarian organisations who are responsible for official social media channels.
“Today, over three billion people use social media – that includes individuals affected by natural disasters or armed conflict,” said Charlotte Lindsey-Curtet, Director of Communication and Information Management at the ICRC. “More and more, people affected by crises look to these platforms to find and share vital information. If we want to better inform and adapt our response, it is imperative that we also meet and engage affected people online.”
Platforms like Facebook and Twitter allow local and international actors to coordinate relief efforts, and disseminate lifesaving messages in real time. More importantly, affected communities use the channels to reconnect with relatives, seek help, and provide feedback and complaints on the assistance, or lack thereof, received.