The Macalester Review


The social media boom has brought about a new age of communications and connectedness in our world. Just as the advent of televised news brought more attention to humanitarianism, social media has the capability to alter how humanitarian responses are viewed, coordinated, and executed. However, despite the vast potential of social media, humanitarian actors have been hesitant to fully incorporate it within their modus operandi. This essay explores the reasons for their skepticism and looks at cases where social media was put to good use during humanitarian crises. Using that information, we will argue that several measures can be taken to improve social media use in humanitarian responses: the creation of a social media data aggregation website, the inclusion of local actors in forming communications strategies, and the continued research of social media data trends in humanitarian crises. These measures would facilitate advocacy, aid distribution, and the ability to carry out the humanitarian imperative more effectively.