Social Media and its use during the Queensland Floods

80% of Queensland has been rocked by devastating floods creating havoc and chaos in many parts including the capital city of Brisbane. Here's how government agencies and some enterprising individuals are leveraging social media and the power of the web to create awareness, call for assistance and prompt donations for the relief effort.

Twitter and the Brisbane Floods


At this moment Twitter is quite possibly the best source of up to the minute information on the Brisbane floods. Trending topics include #qldfloods, #bnefloods and #TheBigWet, which when searched provide important updates from the Queensland Police Services (@QPSmedia), photos taken by individuals, links to videos and sometimes calls for assistance to find loved ones.

In particular, the Queensland Police Service has been doing a fantastic job of keeping everyone up to date with important information such as:

  • "Train services are resuming in parts of Brisbane. Stop walking on the tracks #TheBigWet #qldfloods"
  • "No homes can be reconnected to electricity until they have been certified as safe by an electrician #qldfloods #TheBigWet"
They are helping to quell misinformation with their '#mythbuster' tweets:

  • #mythbuster: Wivenhoe Dam is NOT about to collapse! #thebigwet #qldfloods"
  • #mythbuster: There is currently NO fuel shortage in Brisbane. #qldfloods #thebigwet
And this consistent, timely and good quality information is being well received leading to kudos and thanks from everyone around:

  • "@QPSmedia sensational job you guys, you're rewriting the manual"
  • "@QPSmedia You would have to be the most reliable source of info on #qldfloods. Appreciate the #mythbuster tweets. Good to have the facts"
  • "Top marks to @QPSmedia for updates, road closures and warnings. Excellent work. #qldfloods"
On the lighter side people are also using humour to relieve the stress and grief by posting a few funnies on Twitter:

Brisbane Floods - Milton Road

Facebook Groups and the Queensland Floods


While the QPS are doing a great job on Twitter, they and numerous others are also garnering a huge audience on Facebook.

The above groups are garnering support and help by linking to Volunteer Organisations, Comedy Fundraisers (Evapor-Aid), Qld Floods Open Beds and the Queensland Flood Relief Appeal prompting people to donate. At the time of writing close to $36 Million had been collected.

There have also been retail chains such as BingLee prompting that people join their Facebook page on the premise that every new 'Fan' would add a $1 donation to a maximum of $10,000. The promotion has been met with a mixed response with people not taking kindly to the retail chain using an adverse situation to create a Facebook following.

YouTube Videos during the Floods


While Twitter and Facebook pages provide up to the minute information, the scenes that hit home the hardest can be seen on video. Here is one such video from the Courier Mail's feed on YouTube (We would have embedded it but at the time of writing the functionality was disabled). It's worthwhile noting that this was filmed prior to the flood reaching its highest point. For people who know this area of Brisbane well, it's a sad realisation of how affected some areas are.

Google Maps and Predicted Flood Areas


While this is not social media it is worthwhile noting the work of the Google Crisis Response Team who have put together a mash-up of available data on a Google Map showing river flood levels, predicted flood zones, road closures and the affected suburbs.

Share your Flood Stories


There is no doubt that the devastating floods and its effects are far from over. However, from the exchanges and conversations noted on the social networks we can take a small measure of solace in the fact that sentiment and morale is high. Coupled with the determination of the Queensland community, we are already well on our way to rebuilding a new future.

We'd love to hear what you've seen and heard on the various Social Media networks over the past few days. Useful links, urgent notices, videos, images, flood advice, anything, everything.