Web 2.0 and Internet Social Networking: A New tool for Disaster Management? - Lessons from Taiwan
Abstract Background Internet social networking tools and the emerging web 2.0 technologies are providing a new way for web users and health workers in information sharing and knowledge dissemination. Based on the characters of immediate, two-way and large scale of impact, the internet social networking tools have been utilized as a solution in emergency response during disasters. This paper highlights the use of internet social networking in disaster emergency response and public health management of disasters by focusing on a case study of the typhoon Morakot disaster in Taiwan. Discussion In the case of typhoon disaster in Taiwan, internet social networking and mobile technology were found to be helpful for community residents, professional emergency rescuers, and government agencies in gathering and disseminating real-time information, regarding volunteer recruitment and relief supplies allocation. We noted that if internet tools are to be integrated in the development of emergency response system, the accessibility, accuracy, validity, feasibility, privacy and the scalability of itself should be carefully considered especially in the effort of applying it in resource poor settings. Summary This paper seeks to promote an internet-based emergency response system by integrating internet social networking and information communication technology into central government disaster management system. Web-based networking provides two-way communication which establishes a reliable and accessible tunnel for proximal and distal users in disaster preparedness and management.