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Updated in 8/4/2017 3:27:35 PM      Viewed: 1114 times      (Journal Article)
Public Relations Review 43 (3): 468-476 (2017)

Public information officers’ social media monitoring during the Zika virus crisis, a global health threat surrounded by public uncertainty

Elizabeth Johnson Avery
ABSTRACT
Abstract As Zika virus emerged as a global health concern in 2016, it was surrounded in public uncertainty regarding its transmission and health consequences. Health communicators were tasked with managing their own uncertainties and with incomplete information on the virus. Given the misinformation, rumors, and even conspiracy theories surrounding Zika virus, monitoring public awareness and understanding of the mysterious illness on social media could offer critical insight to crisis management. A survey (n = 226) was conducted with public information officers (PIOs) at local public health departments across the United States to reveal how they utilize and listen to social media during public health crises. In addition to an overall low rate of social media monitoring reported by PIOs, troublesome disparities exist based on community size served. However, there were positive relationships between social media monitoring and satisfaction with overall departmental crisis management as well as preparedness for Zika. These and many other monitoring trends are explored.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pubrev.2017.02.018      ISSN: 0363-8111