The Role of Social Media during Queensland Floods: An Empirical Investigation on the Existence of Multiple Communities of Practice (MCoPs)

Ashir Ahmed, Sukunesan Sinnappan


The notion of communities getting together during a disaster to help each other is common. However, how does this communal activity happen within the online world? Here we examine this issue using the Communities of Practice (CoP) approach. We extend CoP to multiple CoP (MCoPs) and examine the role of social media applications in disaster management, extending work done by Ahmed (2011). Secondary data in the form of newspaper reports during 2010 to 2011 were analysed to understand how social media, particularly Facebook and Twitter, facilitated the process of communication among various communities during the Queensland floods in 2010. The results of media-content analysis along with the findings of relevant literature were used to extend our existing understanding on various communities of practice involved in disaster management, their communication tasks and the role of Twitter and Facebook as common conducive platforms of communication during disaster management alongside traditional communication channels.


Communities of Practice; Social Media; Disaster Management

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