Prepare for the zombies
A 2011 United States campaign to prepare for a Zombie apocalypse was used a means to motivate people to prepare for real emergencies. The success and limitations of this widely disseminated campaign were discussed by visiting US communications researcher Dr Brooke Liu at a Bushfire and Natural Hazard CRC seminar last week.
Dr Liu spoke on the Roles of Social and Mobile Media in Community Response and Recovery. She presented research on how effective risk and crisis communication can prepare the public to respond and recover from disasters. Using the zombie apocalypse as an example she considered the appropriate use of humour in disaster preparedness messaging, and more broadly the value of social media in disaster response messaging compared to traditional media.
Dr Liu delivered a similar presentation to the Emergency Media and Public Affairs conference in Sydney earlier in the week.
Dr Liu is an associate professor of communication at the University of Maryland in the Washington DC. She directs the Risk Communication and Resilience Program at START; a US Department of Homeland Security Center of Excellence that focuses on the causes and consequences of terrorism and other hazards.