The Role of Social Networking in Small Island Communities: Lessons from the 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season

AbstractThe 2017 Atlantic hurricane season was abnormally destructive. For small island developing states (SIDS) a range of underlying issues such as climate change and infrastructure failures also heightened risk. With the increased use of social media and other digital technologies, communities within SIDS are relying on new methods of information dissemination during crises. This paper analyses the ways in which social media and other digital technologies are used in the Caribbean for hurricane resilience and preparedness, using the case study of Antigua and Barbuda that were particularly damaged during the 2017 season. The study scopes the place of such technologies at present through the use of qualitative interviews from a range of governmental departments, organisations, humanitarian aid charities, ex-politicians, business owners and members of the public. It concludes by deriving three main lessons for SIDS for the better management of future hurricane seasons.

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