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‘My Teacher Told me “Toowoomba will Never Flood”’: Regional Community Uses of Facebook During the 2011 Queensland Floods

  • Kelly McWilliam (a1)

Extract

Regional Queensland and social media are not standard bedfellows in studies of Australian media use. Yet regional community responses to recent natural disasters on Facebook in particular warrant further investigation. Indeed, while the increasing use of social media by government organisations during disasters and other crises is by now well documented, the comparative surge in community uses — and particularly regional community uses — has received considerably less attention. This article is broadly interested in regional Queensland uses of Facebook during the 2011 Queensland floods, specifically the ‘Toowoomba & Darling Downs Flood Photos & Info Page’ (https://www.facebook.com/TmbaLockyerFloods?fref=ts 10 January 2011). Drawing on an interview with the page's creator, I consider both the speed and apparent efficacy of the page as a tool of grassroots (or unofficial) crisis communication, partly compared with its most obvious official counterpart, the Toowoomba Regional Council's Facebook page. Ultimately, I argue that the ‘Toowoomba & Darling Downs Flood Photos & Info Page’ offers an emphatically more useful model of social media-based crisis communication from which others might draw.

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‘My Teacher Told me “Toowoomba will Never Flood”’: Regional Community Uses of Facebook During the 2011 Queensland Floods

  • Kelly McWilliam (a1)

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