Citizen Journalism: Rising from the muddy waters of the Queensland Floods

I could sense it when most news outlets set themselves up with social media accounts. I could see it when #BPGlobalPR; a satirical jibe to BP’s own babbling twitter account launched anonymously and quickly gained over 180,000 followers.  But it wasn’t until news broke of K-Rudd’s clumsy fall from Prime Ministership and my (and my flat mates’) first reaction was to jump on twitter to see what was “really” going on that things began to change the way news unraveled (to me) forever.

It was exhilarating to be reading news before it was aired, to get hold of “behind the scenes” gossip tweeted by employees at Parliament House while all of the dry formalities played out in front of the cameras. I was in control of what I wanted to consume and I was HUNGRY.  I could voice my thoughts, pass on information, rock the boat without getting off the couch and God help anyone that wasn’t talking about the election! It was everything I wanted to know in one and let’s PLEASE not forget to mention the hilariously witty tweets that continued to sprinkle my feed with delightful election commentary and served by my ‘followed’ few – let’s just say there were LOL’s-a-plenty.

But the event that has really solidified that this landscape, this social media “tweeting”, Facebook “updating”, blog posting  world had reached into the greater community (that’s oldies, youngies and dummies) was the devastating, gut wrenching and shocking QLD Floods that rocked our world last week.

It began early on when my twitter stream told me Toowoomba had suffered flash flooding at 2:33pm on Monday. I was surprised when the Brisbane Police Service’s Facebook page sprung to action, spewing out a continual flow of flood-related messages and it still hasn’t stopped a week later.  I was touched when a 14-year-old boy started a Facebook group dedicated to locating Missing persons/Animals which received 7,000 likes at last count and I was proud when Twitter was used by #BakedRelief to mobilise and coordinate people all across Brisbane to bake and deliver delicious goodies to well deserving volunteers.  Not to mention the nightly social media news bulletin where journos like @AmeliaAdams9 discussed the day’s most important and relevant YouTube, Twitter, Facebook activity along with official news footage.

Here are some of my favorite Social Media initiatives:


  • Brisbane Police Service
    • Updating several times each hour on Tues/Wed/Thurs/Fri and still more than hourly on Monday
  • Discount site Cudo emailed and Facebooked members and ran a donation promotion, promising to match any donation to the Queensland Flood Appeal over $5 with $5 of their own, raising a reported 100K by the close of business the same day.
  • Witchery sent out eDMs stating 100% of profits on Friday would go to the flood appeal
  • QLD IT Flood Relief Program
    • The Queensland Flood IT relief team is a group of volunteers who are collecting spare PC’s, printers, servers, from companies all across Australia. We will then service, and rebuild them with an aim to send them to people in Queensland who need the support to get started.
  • QLD Floods – website connecting those in need with those wanting to help

Dozens of flood related groups…

  • “Queensland Floods – You Can Help”,
  • “Our hearts go out to all those affected in QLD floods”
  • “That awkward moment when you see somebody’s status not about the floods” were just a few.

The Fails…

By Anna Goddard

2 responses to “Citizen Journalism: Rising from the muddy waters of the Queensland Floods

  1. Pingback: The Future of Journalism « rachaelroby

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