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Speakers » Orla Vigsø

  • Professor

  • University of Gothenburg, Department of Journalism, Media & Communication

  • Sweden

Orla Vigsø, Ph.D. is a Professor in Media- and Communication Studies. Before that, he was Associate Professor in Scandinavian Languages and Professor in Rhetoric. His main research interests lie within the relations between texts, contexts, and interpretation within political communication, visual communication, and crisis communication. He studied at Aarhus University in Denmark before moving to Sweden and writing a thesis on the election posters of the 2002 general election. His latest publications are Krisekommunikation (an introduktion in Danish), Politik i det offentliga rummet (on 100 years of Swedish election posters, with Bengt Johansson and NicklasHåkansson), and The Dynamics of Sensemaking and Information Seeking in a Crisis Situation (in Nordicom Review, with Tomas Odén).

Personally Official? The Use of Facebook in a Crisis Situation 


Imagine you are the mayor of a small town with only one employee working part time with communication, and you suddenly find yourself in the middle of a serious crisis?

This happened in the Summer of 2014 in Sweden, with a forest fire posing a serious threat to the town of Norberg. The elected mayour faced a situation where the official employees could not handle an updated presence in all communication channels. So, she decided to use her own Facebook account to inform the citizens, but as a private person – although everybody knew who she was. At least three lessons could be learned from this:

– In Sweden, Facebook is by far the most effective channel for sharing information during a crisis

– Coordination between senders is crucial

– Don’t mix personal and official channels