Posted by: gavinstokes | January 27, 2011

Social media and emergency response

Are government bodies behind the curve when it comes to using social media for more constructive things such as emergency response. Going by my own experience I would have to say yes.
Social media may be in use but as I said in a previous post there is no policy or over arching plan when it comes to applying it, it’s all very add-hoc.

The American Red Cross’ Social Media in Disasters and Emergenciessurvey of 1,058 adults indicates that 18 percent would turn to digital social media if calls to 911 were unsuccessful.

I would say that those numbers are a bit on the low side considering how social media has been used over the last two years to mobilize crowds of demonstrators affectively. Take the current crisis in Egypt, where the public have manged to stay two steps ahead of the government resulting in the government trying to shut down social media sites.

The speed at which social media can disseminate information has been clearly demonstrated, take for example how social media has the news story long before traditional news channels even here of it.

During the Haiti disaster, social media was not only used to spread the news but was also used effectively by the Red Cross to raise $5,000,000+ for Haiti through a text message campaign.

Social media is changing how governmental bodies interact with the public or more to the point how the public interacts with governmental bodies. Government needs to recognise this and think about how best it can use this new and growing media platform.

Articles on social media and government

Office of Operations Coordination and Planning Haiti Social Media Disaster Monitoring Initiative January 21, 2010

Disaster Management operations enhanced by social media

Red Cross. Social media in major emergnices and disasters

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