USI Hosts Social Media Symposium

In 2015, 73% of Americans had a social media page, and that number is expected to keep growing. When breaking news happens, most people turn to social media to get more information. That’s why USI held this discussion to talk about the ways social media helps and hurts a crisis.

“Social media is a challenge,” said Guest speaker Dr. Glen Nowak.

He says social media is a powerful tool but in the wrong hands could be a problem.

“But social media when it comes to a crisis, it can create crisis,” said Nowak. “It can make them harder to manage because alot of rumors and misinformation get conveyed.”

That’s why Nowak says it’s important to follow credible non-bias sources, like government websites. Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke was at the event to talk about how the city uses social media to get information out.

“We do important announcements, water main break,” said Mayor Lloyd Winnecke. “If there is something sort of urgent that we believe the citizens of evansville need to know, need to know about instantly, we tweet that out.”

But Mayor Winnecke says they also utilize social media in non-emergencies, like when negotiations were happening between the city and the Icemen.

“The Icemen had decided to do some of it’s negotiations through the media so we found ourselves responding via twitter,” said Mayor Winnecke.

Organizers of the event hope people walk away understanding the power many of us have at our fingertips.

“People kind of look at it as a way to network and just to chill out and relax,” said Elise Weaver, Head Student Chair Committee. “But really it serves another purpose and that is to communicate important information effectively and quickly.”

Dr. Nowak says some crisis to take social media by storm recently are:

  • Measles outbreak at Disney Land
  • Dengue
  • Zika Virus
  • Ebola
  • Flint, Michigan water crisis



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