Use of Social Media in Severe weather event

Our case study focused on how Kerry County Council used Web, Online maps and Social media to communicate with citizens and traditional media channels in the severe winter of 2010/2011.

Main goal

The goal was to get fast updates to audience: Staff, citizens and media.

Lessons learned

In a rural area it is important to make updates available to Radio and by SMS

There is a need for updates outside of business hours. Mobile devices and apps facilitated this but there are HR issues about unpaid work out of normal hours.

The impact was wider than our immediate follower base, the information in our Twitter updates was picked up and broadcast by national television and radio channels.


Recommendation 1

Use Twitter for important notifications. It has the least access obstacles in our rural area with elderly population because it is possible for citizens with basic phones to receive updates by SMS message for free.

Recommendation 2

Use Twitter Tweets needs to be relevant, accurate and timely. Have regard to the number and timing of messages.

Recommendation 3

Co-operate with traditional media and let them know to follow your social media channels for updates. Our Twitter messages are picked up by local media who broadcast the message over radio (local radio listenership during severe weather was over 90%).

Recommendation 4

Create a light-weight website/weather station with video images and key weather data.

Recommendation 5

Make use of GIS mapping and webcams. For example we showed mapping routes of treated roads and also the locations where citizens could collect gritting salt to treat their area.

Recommendation 6

Develop policies for information gathering and distribution. Ensure that you are getting updates from staff are likewise that they are aware of the messages that you are making available to media.

External source 


Kerry, Ireland


John Colivet