Volunteer admins are vital to the success of any Facebook page or group in an emergency. They are the people that update the group with relevant information, moderate content and deal with spam. There are some key qualities that emerged from the BMFR research – wanting to help, not able to help in other ways, experience with Facebook and desire to assist the community – that were integral to creating a sustainable admin team. (See the admin survey for more details.)
In wider research on using social media in emergencies, admins from a wide geographic area were cited as being helpful for consistent posting and moderation. In the case of BMFR, admins are from a range of areas in the Blue Mountains, so are able to respond to fire emergencies even though one or more admins may be directly affected.
Having a diverse group of people involved as volunteer admins is important, so that the danger of burn-out is minimised. However, the stress of doing this work is not to be underestimated, and the research showed the need for regular reflection for the BMFR admins.