Getting Engaged: Facebook and the Fire Service
Aleski, James R.
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Various crisis situations around the world are repeatedly proving the critical impact of social media usage during these times. American fire departments are recognizing the strengths of these tools and are rapidly expanding their usage of them during both emergency and non-emergency periods. While research on social media usage during disasters is expanding, much less is known about how the fire service can use these applications on a day-to-day basis. This study conducts analyses on fire departments� official Facebook pages to determine what they are posting and what factors influence the amount of engagement in the forms of likes, comments, and shares, these posts receive. The results show that (1) posts disclosing information about a fire department�s history, its people, and the actions and activities they take part in get the most likes and comments overall, (2) content that provides general community information, public service announcements, or situational awareness gets the fewest number of likes and comments, (3) however, among these types of posts, general community information gets more likes than public service announcement or situational awareness, (4) posts that contain content shared from other Facebook pages receive fewer likes and comments than posts that do not contain shared content, (5) posts made between 10pm and 2am receive more shares than content posted at other times, and (6) posts containing images receive more likes and comments than posts not containing images. These findings can offer guidance to fire departments on how to better engage their followers and foster relationships via Facebook on a day-to-day basis.
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