Social media for emergency managers can’t start when the emergency does
From NextGov: Developing emergency managers’ capacity to benefit from social media requires more than simply training them to monitor Facebook pages and to adopt new technology to separate sound from noise in the cacophonous Twitter feed following a disaster, experts said Thursday.
To use social media effectively during emergencies, officials must have in place a social community so that affected people know where to turn when they’re out of water, trapped in their homes, or don’t have information about where to find shelter, experts said during a panel discussion sponsored by the Wilson Center think tank’s Science and Technology Innovation Program.
As things stand, panelists said, emergency managers’ adoption of social media is scattershot across the country and while the public often rushes to Facebook and Twitter during emergencies, police, firefighters and other responders are unprepared to deal with this situation. According to a recent American Red Cross survey, for example, more than one-third of respondents said they expected help to arrive in less than one hour if they posted a request to an emergency response agency on Facebook or Twitter. Yet many police stations and regional emergency response agencies don’t actively monitor their Facebook or Twitter accounts.