The better someone’s information position is in a crisis, the more adequate his or her situational awareness will be and the more effective he/she, citizen or emergency first responder, can respond to the crisis situation. Therefore the spread of information is important, especially when the information is important for a broader audience. By providing positive feedback, citizens and organizations will be encouraged to keep offering relevant information for other citizens as well as for professional emergency organizations. Also ensure that your information gets passed along. Be aware that tweets with links, unique content and hashtags are often retweeted more often. Therefore use pictures, a hashtag or a link to accompany your message with. Hashtags also ensure your message can be found (more easily). Furthermore connecting to individuals that have well-established networks, e.g. (citizen) journalists, stimulates your message having an impact without needing to have a large amount of followers yourself.
- Mandate and enable emergency responders in the field to share information directly to other active parties and civilians.
- Specify which information they are allowed to share.
- Where possible, include a hashtag, picture or web address to your messages.
- Make sure your hashtag is general but directed at the crises, so that it can also be used by other organizations.
- Connect to individuals with impact: online opinion leaders, (citizen) journalists.
- Ask people who post on your social media accounts to re-share the specific information, e.g., by retweeting it, to reach as many citizens as possible.
- Ask the public explicitly to share the information through other channels if they can.
- Explicitly thank citizens for sharing information (via social media).
- Point out the added value of their sharing information during the crises, also retrospectively so that people will be encouraged to participate during the next crises.