List of Commonly Used Social Media Sites, Platforms, and Tools Used by Emergency Managers

Note: While other sites and platforms may be used for the purposes given below. The list below represents those most commonly used by emergency managers in the USA. The list is not meant as a comprehensive representation of all social media sites, or an endorsement of any of these sites or platforms.

DefinitionSite NameURLCOSTMain FeaturesImportant Notes
Blog Sites: Allow for a single author or a group of authors using one account to post content and links as a series of articles or posts arranged in a chronological sequence like a diary or journal. Wordpress


FreeAll sites offer similar features including posting text, pictures, video, and links to other sites, and integrated with other social media sites. Posts are typically archived and can be searched, saved, edited, and deleted.Wordpress is FOSS but must be hosted. Has more features available than Blogger.


Blog can be hosted by Wordpress for free or paid.Must pay to use a custom URL and to remove ads from your site (ads will be permitted if used for free)
Microblogging: A micro-blogging site provides users with a platform for short, text messages, that may include web links, attached pictures and links to video.Twitterwww.twitter.comFreeMessage are limited to 140 characters, similar to text messaging (SMS or Short Message Service) except that it is typically shared with a group of people and most often are public. Users can subscribe to another user’s Tweets, send direct Tweets or connect to them, and share a common thread through the use of what are called hashtags.

Unless the user decides to restrict their Tweets from being searched. They are all public and can be searched, aggregated, and analyzed.

Tweets or Twitter posts, when the location feature is enabled by the account holder, contain geo data that, when linked to pictures or video, can help provide a more accurate common operating picture.



FreeMicroblogging and social networking site. Multimedia hosting/sharing. 
Peer to Peer Sharing- Common Social Networking Sites: These sites allow individuals, companies, organizations, and associations to post text, video, pictures, links to other web content and combinations of all of these electronic media. This posted media, some sections permanent, other sections constantly changing, comprise the profile for an individual or organization. Increasingly more information about the individual can be shared such as location based information, media preferences: music, pictures, video, etc. that they allow users to connect with one another directly, through groups or networks or even by location when this feature is enabled. They also allow other users to comment directly or obtain a direct feed of content to their own page or to a mobile device for easy viewing and response.Facebook


Free- Facebook allows advertisements on right sidebarAllows short blog posts, text chat, inbox, pictures, video, and integration with other social media sites. Live-streaming video and video chat.Currently the largest global social network.

Free- Need to sign up with a Google account 


Free- Premium account available with more features.Similar features to those given above, except that the primary use is for professional and business networking, by companies, organizations, association and individuals. Used by many communities of practices (COPs) for sharing better practices.Some groups are open while others are restricted and require invitations to join. Messages can only be sent to other users if they are within your network (by opt-in) unless a premium account is paid for.
Media Sharing Sites: These sites offer hosting for pictures, audio, videos, and other multi-media. Users can often include text commentary, group photos or video together, edit them directly on the site, and also embed certain graphics or links in the media. This media can then be shared through links, text message, embedded in a blog, Facebook page, or included in a Tweet.Instagram 

FreePicture hosting/sharing hosting. Can tag, group, and edit photos (through third party applications) 
 Google Photos



FreePicture hosting/sharing 


FreeHosting for video. Allows for management and tracking number of viewers.Unlimited HD video upload.


FreeHosting for video. Allows editing, management, and tracking number of viewers.Limited upload amount of HD video
Wikis: These sites are repositories for information or documents and typically offer subject specific areas where information can be shared and obtained. Note: just as there are many blogs hosted, there are many wiki sites available. Below is a listing of those that are known that are just a couple related to emergency management.Wikipedia


FreeOffers a wide range of user generated listings in multiple languages and subjects.The most famous the wikis, Wikipedia or the online encyclopedia, is where the name wiki was first used
 FEMA Idea Scale


Free- account required.This community is for FEMA stakeholders to have a dialogue about emergency preparedness, disaster response and recovery, and other emergency management topics. While this is not strictly a wiki, it functions as a means of sharing information in the emergency management community of practice (COP).Ideas can be voted and commented on by other users in the community.

Monitoring and Aggregating Sites: These sites and platforms provide functions to monitor and filter the stream of social media into feeds tailored to individual user preferences. These sites, depending on their features, allow for sorting feeds from social media sites by keywords, hashtags, and geographic coverage.

Note: Most of these sites require an account on the aggregation platform and access to an account through which social media sites will be searched.



FreeGoogle Feedburner aggregates and disseminates content from websites, blogs, audio, video, and photos according to user-defined criteria. This site also provides a feature to monitor the number and identity of users that subscribe to your feeds.A popular aggregating site for emergency managers due to its multiple column format.


FreeHootsuite allows monitoring and managing social media sites by keywords and hashtags. It also allows for disseminating information to multiple social media accounts.A popular aggregating site for emergency managers due to its multiple column format.


FreeTrendsmap provides tracking for Twitter feeds and allow users to search and monitor message streams by the location of the person generating content. It allows disseminating posts through Twitter and Facebook.Good mapping feature, using Google maps.


FreeTweetdeck allows monitoring and managing social media sites by keywords and hashtags. It also allows for disseminating information to multiple social media accounts.A popular aggregating site for emergency managers due to its multiple column format.


FreeTwitterfall allows monitoring and managing social media sites by keywords, hashtags, and geolocation. It only allows disseminating posts through Twitter. 

Social Media Influence Ranking: Sites that provide analyses of a specific social media user. Most of these sites provide a score for measuring social influence, using an algorithm for calculating the score based on an analysis of the number of followers, number of messages, and number of times those messages are then rebroadcast out to other recipients. They can all be used to identify individuals in a social network who have a greater level of influence through their followers.

Note: Most of these sites require an account with one of the social media sites at which you are looking to seek a ranking for a user account.



FreeMeasures trust and influence on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Foursquare, and Google+.Can also compare level of influence on certain topics using keywords. Easiest to understand and use. Covers a wide range of social media sites.