Floods, Brisbane and What Worked Online

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Queensland State Government

Over the last few weeks, Queensland has been hit with a number of serious floods. These floods have affected locations in Queensland from Rockhampton down to the New South Wales border and even across it. The flood waters are only just now starting to go down in my city, Brisbane, and there are still more places at risk.

The value of the work of the government, emergency services and all of the volunteers who took it upon themselves to pitch in and help out any way that they could is obvious, and deserves recognition. I am not the best person to talk about their work; that has been done far better elsewhere. But I did notice a few ways in which the local internet community and social media platforms have helped a lot of people, especially those not immersed in the social media and internet marketing echo chamber.

  1. The Queensland Police Media Service’s Facebook page
    • Managed brilliantly with regular updates, a great series of mythbusting posts dealing with the more common rumours going around Brisbane and live streaming of the government’s press conferences. All of this was available through their Facebook page. They also have a twitter account: @QPSmedia
  2. Facebook
    • Quite simply, the size of Facebook’s audience made it the go-to platform for many people wanting to reach their friends quickly. The social media platform was used for communication and sharing information, such as photos and status updates for those in the affected areas. I have seen a few Facebook events started to help out those who lost their houses and more within my circle of friends, and I expect that this is far from uncommon.
  3. Greg Lexiphanic hosting flood maps
    • A Brisbane-based Community Manager took it upon himself to host Brisbane flood maps as the official sites started to go down under the weight of traffic they received. Thanks to massive retweets, phrase matched copy and a few links from media websites, the page quickly reached the third spot in Google (fourth if you count the news insert) for ‘Brisbane flood maps’ and reached a large audience of people who have never posted a tweet through direct links and search traffic.

I think these are the sites and platforms that helped the most people during the last few days, aside from sites hosted by a government or a media organisation. Twitter deserves a mention as an information source, and it along with other sites and applications like Twitpic, yfrog, Flickr, instagr.am, YouTube and so on all provided a richer picture of the situation than what would have been possible a decade ago. However, most of these are not as accessible, and don’t provide the kind of information or have the audience in Australia just yet to have as broad an impact as the ones listed above.

Queensland Flood Search Engine Result Page

It is also worth mentioning this page that Google put together, as well as their recent alteration of the result pages for flood related queries with important phone numbers and links listed at the top.

If you are from a flood-affected area, what did you see used by those around you? From overseas, where did you get the best information?

Want to help? Donate here: http://www.qld.gov.au/floods/donate.html

One response to “Floods, Brisbane and What Worked Online”

  1. […] Internet was no haven either. A lot of what made it ideal for coordinating and responding to the disasters for the people who were there also made it harder to talk about and promote tourism in those areas. […]

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