Social Media During a Crisis

I just read an interesting article by David Stephenson from Federal Computer Week, Give the Public a Role in Disaster Response. I wanted to share a few quotes from the article and connect with anyone who may be working in emergency management.

David has clearly identified that social media has added another complex layer to emergency management. The article shows that a during a crisis, an agency needs to monitor a variety of social networks, apps, and all the numerous ways citizens can report to an agency during a crisis. This is on top of all the other responsibilities and protocols an agency must follow when a crisis occurs.

Since I have never worked for government and sometimes feel like the “Curious George” of Gov 2.0, does anyone have experiences they would like to share? I’d be curious to learn how agencies have managed social media during a crisis and the challenges they have faced.

“It’s been two years since DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano announced that the department would emulate the World War II strategy of involving the public in planning and response. Yet all we’ve seen from DHS is the disturbingly vague “If you see something, say something” campaign. Officials haven’t given us any guidance. The department uses Twitter and Facebook to alert us during a disaster but only as an alternative broadcast medium. It doesn’t take advantage of social media’s opportunity for dialogue.”

“An effective, networked homeland security strategy can’t be built around a specific device or application because it’s impossible to known in advance which one might still be usable in a disaster. Instead, the strategy must use a mix of tools, such as Twitter, Facebook, real-time Qik videos or, in the worst disasters, walkie-talkies.” 

“Also, it’s important that government agencies begin creating relationships with social media communities in advance of an emergency to build mind share and credibility so that we’ll look to them as part of our trusted networks in times of need.” 

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