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Social Media in EM

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Ron King

on 15 August 2015

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Transcript of Social Media in EM

Social Media (SM) has grown, not only as another major channel for broadcasting emergency communication to the public, but also as a means of conversing and engaging with the public as a whole community during emergencies.

Like it or not ... whether in preparation for, in response to, or recovery from an emergency
conversations are occurring on social media networks.
Social Media in Emergency Management
Why is Social Media important?
What changes have occurred in media and public information?
What communication opportunities are available to emergency managers through SM?
What challenges are present using SM and how can they be addressed?
Business Case for using Social Media
Original media was predominantly ONE WAY.
the model of broadcast mass media.

Information was directed and controlled by the one delivering the information.
Changes in Media and Public Information
Just three days after the massive tornado that struck Joplin, Missouri, an EF2 tornado struck the 20,000 residents of Sedalia, Missouri. The town suffered no casualties and survivors reported only minor injuries.

Officials are quick to point out that the use of
Social Media - before, during and after the storm - as one of the main reasons for the lack of injuries.
SM is Another Communication Channel
Social Media in EM
OEMA 2015
"We use our County Emergency Management page to put out all kinds of different information but during severe weather. We put severe weather notifications and warnings and we attempt to put pictures with that, so that people can actually see where the storm is located. We don't want to have people worried about getting hit or beat up with the storm in Northern Pettis County when the storm is only going to affect the Southern Pettis County."

Dave Clippert, Emergency Management Director
Sedalia-Pettis County, Missouri
SM is Another Communication Channel
The press release was the main medium for emergency managers to release critical information

The target audience for media was passive and the news cycle was much slower paced allowing for careful coding of the outgoing message to the media, public, and coordinating and cooperating agencies.

Strongly based on command and control models, it worked well in controlling message content and timing as long as the news cycle maintained a consistent pace.
Changes in Media and Public Information
Information is a Commodity
"In an emergency, you must treat information as a commodity as important as the more traditional and tangible commodities like food, water, and shelter."

Jane Holl Lute, Deputy Secretary
Homeland Security
It’s important to remember, as noted before, that content from one social media site can be embedded or linked to content in another site.
For instance, a "Tweet" from Twitter can reference a Facebook post that includes a longer text posting including pictures and video.
A Facebook page can include a feed from Twitter or embedded YouTube videos.
Likewise, a YouTube site can include a reference back to a Facebook page or link to another site on the web.

Content Ownership
Each of these sites has different ways of managing content ownership. In some cases, they may own the rights to content you post and allow others to reuse, link to or share that content.

Others may give the account owner sole rights to their content. The same holds true for archiving the data that is available.
Content Ownership
With the advent of cable television, as well as the Internet and world wide web, the news media moved to a 24-hour cycle and access to media at the site of a disaster event became more accessible and immediate.

Now Social Media sites allow average citizens to post text, pictures, video, and links that disperse content quickly and widely.

This new medium has outstripped
the pace and volume of not only
the standard press release but also
that of the mainstream and local
media as well.
Changes in Media and Public Information
The social media ecosystem is varied and includes sites that offer the following major social media functions:
Blogging or “web logs” are a single- or multiple-author websites that allow for sharing a combination of text, video, and/or pictures.

Common blogging sites and software include Blogger, Wordpress, and Typepad, although many other web tools offer this functionality as well. Most blogging sites allow readers to respond to material by posting comments.
Social Media Ecosystem
TWITTER is a microblogging site that provides users with a platform for short text messages that may include web links, pictures, audio, and video content
The term micro is used as Twitter restricts users to posting short messages (
) that consist of no more than 140 characters
Tweets are similar to text messaging (SMS or Short Message Service), except they are shared publicly to anyone with access to Twitter
Users can subscribe to other users' tweets, send direct messages, or reply publicly.
Users often share comments about related subjects through the uses of hashtags. A common one is #SMEM
Social Media Ecosystem
One thing that is very special about Tweets or Twitter posts is that when the account holder enables the location feature, the geodata it contains can help provide a more accurate common operating picture. This is true particularly when the posts include a picture or video

Twitter users normally "follow" other users and see information from those they are following in a timeline, with little interaction with each other within that timeline.
Social Media Ecosystem
FACEBOOK is considered a
social networking
site. Facebook individuals, companies, organizations, and associations to post text, video, pictures, links to other web content, or combinations of all of
these electronic media.

What differentiates Facebook from a blog or static webpage is that they allow users to directly connect with one another, through groups or networks or even by location, when this feature is enabled. They
also allow users to comment directly or to obtain a direct feed of content to their own page or mobile device for easy viewing and response.
Peer to Peer Sharing
Sites such as Flickr, Picasa, YouTube, Vimeo, and Tumblr offer hosting for pictures and videos.

Users can include text commentary, group photos or video. Editing can be performed directly on the site, including embedding certain graphics, links, or
metadata such as the GPS coordinates, date and time an image was recorded in their content files.

This media can then be embedded in a blog, FACEBOOK page, or linked in a Tweet.
Media Sharing Sites
Increased access to content generation tools and the portability of these platforms through mobile computing, personal digital assistants and
smartphones have spawned a rapid and steep increase in the volume of traffic generated on the web.

Sites such as HootSuite, Tweekdeck, and Trendsmap are all sites that allow monitoring and managing social media sites. They enable searching for specific words, hashtags, and followers often across different platforms, all in one place.
Note: We will not be discussing actual use of these sites in this session

Monitoring and Aggregating Sites
"Social media has added credibility challenges to the formerly unquestioned voice of the emergency manager.”

Tom Olshanski, Director of External Affairs
U.S. Fire Administration
Social media is different in that it changes media communication for emergency management in some key ways:

It is decentralized and non-hierarchical.
Not controlled by one or more entities. Anyone with access (any web enabled device, e.g. basic computer, phone) and minimal skills can post and view.

It is usually immediate and available globally.
What is publicly posted can be viewed immediately and by all, including those throughout the world.
Social Media as New Media
Multi-channel (two or more ways) or multimodal.
Multi-channel (two-way or more) posts can go out to a number of different services at one time. Posting on Twitter, Facebook, and to Youtube all at
once is not unusual.
A Facebook and Twitter post differ by the
number of characters, the way they are displayed, and how the recipient receives them. Also, they may differ in the number of people who receive the
message and the number of times it may be repeated, through “reTweets”, linking, and reposts.
Multimodal media can consist of text, pictures, video or a combination thereof, and can be edited and reformulated with little control over how it might be
Social Media as New Media
The public obtains its news from multiple sources and contributes to the media discourse.
The public now obtains its news and information from multiple sources (TV, radio, and the Web) and chooses what, when, and how it wants it. In some
ways, this can be viewed not as broadcasting, but as micro-channels.

The Information Chain has Reversed
“The 21st century information chain has totally reversed the traditional chain of command.”
James Graybeal, Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications and Director of Public Affairs, NORAD/USNORTHCOM
Social Media as New Media
One way to look at the opportunity to use social media is to examine the government’s role in providing value with respect to crisis and emergency management. This is done by:

Providing service
Achieving outcomes
Stimulating participation
Opportunities for Emergency Managers
Providing service:

Providing services such as fire fighting or emergency medical, and coordinating the provision of post-disaster relief and recovery.

Achieving outcomes:

Achieving outcomes such as designing and developing mitigation measures; developing and executing emergency management plans; or coordinating
Opportunities for Emergency Managers
If the primary mission of government emergency management is providing service, achieving outcomes, and stimulating participation in emergency management efforts, then some of the key benefits that social media may provide towards this mission are:
Saving lives through rapid communication.
Communicating (more) effectively and directly with constituents.
Reaching a larger group of constituents.
Building situation awareness.
Responding to new, incorrect or conflicting information.

Primary Mission for EM in Government
Stimulating participation:

Stimulating participation such as public engagement in personal, private, and public plans; encouraging private responses and volunteer efforts; and supporting public review and engagement in coordinating public and private efforts to prevent, prepare, mitigate, respond to, and recover from disasters. This is consistent with the “
Whole Community
” approach as it engages the public as part of the team, and looks at social media as another means for connecting with the public and focusing on meeting those needs in a mutual way.
Opportunities for Emergency Managers
The Kansas Division of Emergency Management monitors social media to track any new information, rebroadcast or direct messages from their trusted partners, other agencies or organizations and to correct any false rumors or misinformation.
They use aggregating sites to filter and screen messages from several social media sites, and Twitter and Facebook, looking for trends and correcting incorrect communication by directing responses to their current status updates.
They also use these same platforms to broadcast their message, whether an official press conference, press release or posting, which often helps ensure that the media gets the correct message
Communicate directly with constituents
Building community resilience through prevention, mitigation, and preparedness efforts by the promotion of government participation and building mutual trust in the community.
Fostering transparency and accountability.
Reducing call volume (wired and cell) to call centers (non-emergency and emergency).

Primary Mission for EM in Government
In Nashville, Tennessee, the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) uses social media to both broadcast emergency alert messages and to monitor and coordinate communication with partners and the public.
During the historic floods in May, 2010, TEMA used Twitter and FACEBOOK to alert the public throughout the State of flash floods and tornado warnings.
This news was quickly re-broadcast by their followers on Twitter and FACEBOOK in a number of ways; re-Tweeted or reposted on other platforms, helping to quickly spread the message to a wider audience.
Saving lives through rapid communication.
The Louisiana Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness uses social media in their efforts to build community resilience.
Following Hurricane Katrina, the State of Louisiana made great strides to prevent and mitigate the impacts of future storms, floods, and other hazards. Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and YouTube were used as part of a strategy to inform and involve the public that included videos instructing people how to prepare themselves and their homes to withstand storm effects.
Louisiana officials have also used social media to broadcast public hearings on updates to flood maps in the Greater New Orleans area.
Building community resilience
The Alabama Emergency Management Agency worked with a number of partners to create a “crowdsourced” map of disaster requests and
services following destructive tornadoes of April 2011
A site hosted by UCLA's Office of Information Technology mapped social media posts so individuals and organizations could match services and needs swiftly and appropriately.
A map of unmet needs indicates clusters where emergency managers may need to focus resources
Users can also use social media to connect with familiar sources of goods and services directly
Building situational awareness
Leadership buy-in, organizational culture.
Fear and distrust of what is new or not familiar, questions about the reliability of information and the ability to verify what is provided by social media as well as, possibly, the fear of its misuse or abuse, making leaders look bad.

Organizational capability.
IT staff may not be familiar with enterprise deployment of social media or lack the infrastructure capacity to accommodate its use, especially high-definition or high bandwidth applications.
Emergency management workforce may be unfamiliar with social media or might lack the skills required to use it effectively.
Organizational Challenges to SM
Sustainability (competition for resources, skills, time).
With emergency service organizations already working with lean resources and expected to do more with less, there is more competition for shrinking staff and their time. Emergency response staff members are already overloaded with their daily responsibilities.

Security policies and restrictions related to IT systems.
IT staff may perceive social media platforms as potential security risks. Organizational guidelines for their use and management may not have kept
pace with the current state of web technology.
Organizational Challenges to SM (cont.)
Privacy of personal information.
Legal staff and public citizens' advocates may have concerns about citizens’ privacy and personal information, including how sensitive data should be
handled, tracked, stored, and used.

Everyone does not have access to SM.
22% of adults do not have access to or use the Internet. Older, poorer, less educated, and rural populations tend to have less access.
Organizational Challenges to SM (cont.)
Doing things quickly; eliminating the middleman, noise and filters between those who have information and those who need or can use it

Doing the right thing; getting the right message to the right audience; focusing on influences and interested followers in a position to
act (such as public vs. media, partners, etc.)

Doing things right; ensuring that information is correct, confirmed by independent sources and backed up by facts or direct
Opportunities for SM in EM
We can evaluate social media in emergency management by the degree to which we meet citizen expectations. Social media should be seen as a way of influencing these expectations by engaging and leveraging the resources of the entire community.

Looking again at the model of government role in crisis and emergency management, social media can be used in emergency management to deliver
greater benefits in terms of speed, relevancy, accuracy, and efficiency and to provide and convey integrity, satisfactory results, and dependability.
Public Expectations
“Social media is imperative to emergency management because the public uses these communication tools regularly. We must adapt to the way the public communicates by leveraging the tools that people use on a daily basis.

We must use social media tools to more fully engage the public as a critical
partner in our efforts.”

Craig Fugate, Administrator
SM in EM: The Time is Now
“We used to worry about accuracy, now we worry about speed.”

Tom Olshanski, Director of External Affairs
U.S. Fire Administration
Opportunities for SM in EM (cont.)
Following are key points that can be used to make the argument for adoption and use of social media in an emergency management organization:

the significant benefits and associated small risks of its use.
that those unfamiliar with social media may find its use uncomfortable or intimidating. The introduction of the Internet, e-mail and the Web produced similar anxieties. Review how central the use of the Internet, e-mail and Web tools have become in business.
Better Practices to Support Use of SM
the downside of being excluded from the public conversation already occurring:
Do you want the public discussing your emergency or disaster without you?
Don’t you want to know what the public is saying (about you)?
Do you know how to participate and respond?
examples of other government users and their experiences.
starting slowly, experimenting with a few tools, and adapting to ever-changing situations and technologies.
Better Practices to Support Use of SM (cont)
“In these really big disasters, the initial response is generally not government. It's individuals helping each other, trying to find out what's going on. … we kind of have this barrier, because the public isn't official. It's not an official source of information… But we've seen now in the U.S., from wildfires in
California and Boulder to the recent ice storm and snowstorms...the public is putting out better situation awareness than many of our own agencies can with our official datasets.”

Craig Fugate
Reality Check - situational awareness
Providing service
Achieving outcomes
Stimulating participation

We can look at social media as a means by which emergency managers can provide
to the public, achieving a successful mutual
of protecting the public and mitigating the impact of disasters. The
in social media is the bridge between the means and the end when the emergency management community and the public work together.
Developing SM Use in EM
Level 1 - Monitor

In the monitoring stage, emergency managers watch and listen to messages streaming through social media to better understand the medium and the message. Taking time to become familiar with the talk and the tempo of social media helps emergency managers establish what military commanders often call their battle rhythm.

Monitoring focuses on one-way communication from the public. This mode informs and instructs the Emergency Manager before any action is taken to
deploy or use social media tactically or strategically.
Matrix of SM use in EM
Level 2 - Command/Control

Level 2 involves one-way communication to the public intended to inform, convince, compel, or instruct. This approach emphasizes the use of social media as a tactical means of achieving strategic objectives by motivating public action. It is intended to deliver a service - timely public information - that is communicated directly to the public. It neither assumes nor requires direct public participation. However, many emergency managers find it helpful to engage social media savvy volunteers to augment scarce staff resources
when employing this approach.
Matrix of SM use in EM (cont.)
Level 3 - Coordinate
Level 3 starts a conversation; the emergency manager engages in 1- or 2-way communication with others to avoid or minimize resource and information conflicts. The use of social media at this stage is ends focused.
At this level, EM engage the public to both gather and disseminate information. This helps the public update the situation awareness of EM and other users, while obtaining information from them that guides a more efficient and effective response to the emergency. When the public and EM have a shared understanding of the situation and what’s at stake, they can take independent action without fear of compromising the outcome.
Matrix of SM use in EM (cont.)
Level 4 - Cooperate

This stage involves more direct engagement between individuals or groups and emergency managers. This two-way communication facilitates shared understanding of the situation, which shapes participants’ expectations of the means of responding or the ends to be achieved. The result is shared resources, allowing participants to achieve multiple objectives. Crowdsourced maps are a prime example of social media use at this level.
Matrix of SM use in EM (cont.)
Level 5 - Collaborate

At this stage, participants’ communication and engagement creates a shared understanding of the situation. It produces a common commitment to pursue the same results by working together. This level of engagement is characterized by in-depth dialogue and shared effort among participants. The
use of wikis and shared document portals to produce emergency plans or recovery documents are examples of efforts at this level.
Matrix of SM use in EM (cont.)
Saving Lives Through Rapid Communication

Social media is used for alerting the public in sudden onset and rapidly developing disaster situations. In disasters such as tornadoes, earthquakes, wildfires, flash floods, and shooting incidents, microblogging sites such as
are used to quickly deliver messages warning the public of hazards.
Key Examples of SM Better Practices
Communicating (more) Effectively and Directly with Constituents

Social media sites can be used to communicate directly with constituents rather than through the media. In some ways, this helps to keep the media
in line with your direct message because the public has access to both your feed and that of the commercial media.
Key Examples of SM Better Practices (cont)
Reaching a Larger Group of Constituents

In a far different way, social media can help fill the gap in communication during a disaster when wired communications or electricity fails. Smartphones
and other web-enabled wireless devices often allow access to information when other services fail.

Cellular networks and Internet services that rely on fault-tolerant fiber-optic networks also fill gaps in regions with scattered population where news
media or community notification services may be unable to get the word out efficiently.
Key Examples of SM Better Practices (cont.)
Building Situation Awareness
Social media can build situation awareness, culling data to obtain a clearer operating picture.

Responding Quickly and Effectively to New, Incorrect or Conflicting Information
During disaster events, rumors and misinformation can spread quickly over social networks. While social networks are often self-correcting when it comes to misinformation, active intervention by emergency managers to dispel rumors and spread new information to the public using social networks is common practice.
Key Examples of SM Better Practices (cont.)
Fostering Transparency and Accountability
Social media platforms and the utilization of media posting sites are used to demonstrate preparedness and response efforts, helping to foster greater transparency of the work done by emergency
management agencies with the public.
Key Examples of SM Better Practices (cont.)
The second advanced practice involves measuring the impact of social media efforts over time.

Measures include:
Number of subscribers or followers
Number of people retransmitting your information.
Third-party measures of social media "influence".
Documented stories of people who credit your social media accounts with knowledge gained or actions taken during or after an event.
Measurement of Reach
"Don't look at the glitz, the glamor, and the flashiness of the newness of the technology as 'that's an end state'. It is merely another way that we need to continue to empower the public to have greater ownership and understand the roles and responsibilities they have and to provide them the knowledge, so they can make the best possible decision for them and their families in a time of crisis... and to help each other, their neighbors, while we focus on the things we do best which is helping to make a community safe, rescue the
injured and trapped, and begin the process of getting the community moving towards recovery."
Craig Fugate
Adopting and Integrating the Use of SM
Focus first on the outcome you wish to achieve.
Be prepared to adapt how you engage your audience.
Choose a few tools and develop them well.
Establish a support structure.
Use subject matter experts to help with data collection.
Develop a mentorship and demonstrations from experienced users.
Leverage partners and volunteers.
Make people available to answer questions.
Trust the public, the community’s most wired citizens.

Common Steps to Adopting the Use of SM
Form a social media committee
Set goals: identify the audience and explain the benefits that will be derived from SM use
Develop simple metrics for evaluating the benefits, some qualitative and some quantitative.
Establish practical and transparent reporting and analysis processes, and track progress to measure program success.
Set expectations and include some room for mistakes.
Ensure legal language is included where needed. Make sure that promises are kept.
Continuously improve on its use in after action reviews and improvement plans.
Or ... Develop a Strategy (slower process)
Organizations choosing to implement social media strategies have a choice between approaches that
can be characterized broadly as open or closed.

Important Questions to consider:
Does any organization really have command and control immediately following a disaster?

Can any organization control communication in a social media environment?

What is gained or lost by restricting, sharing, or ceding that control to the public?
Open vs. Closed Approach to SM use:
Open policies prescribe the overarching objectives or destination of a social media strategy. They encourage experimentation and exploitation of
opportunities consistent with these objectives by all employees.
Open policies present the greatest opportunity to achieve the kind of engagement that builds trusted relationships with communities. With
fewer controls, the open approach can be implemented much faster, be more flexible with changes, and more responsive to the public’s expectations.
May result in some early mistakes, making some managers uncomfortable with less command and control over official communication.
Open Approach to SM use
These policies restrict the use of social media to designated personnel using specific platforms or services in a prescribed fashion.

Complies with traditional command and control systems, ensures consistency of official communication.

Takes much longer to implement. May be less flexible and responsive to the public’s expectations.
Closed Approach to SM Use
It is important to get leadership buy-in.

Defining what leadership can do to support the use of social media will help allay fear that use of this new medium will be viewed with hostility or suspicion.
Explain the benefits of its use and the small risks associated with it.
Acknowledge that there may be a fear of what they do not understand or have a familiarity with. This fear is similar to that of the introduction of the Internet and Web. Explain how the Internet and Web have become widely adopted and integrated to a point where e-mail, web pages, text (SMS), etc., are simply a means of doing business.
Final Notes
Highlight the possible downsides of not being included in the conversation.
Do you want the public discussing your emergency or disaster without you?
Don’t you want to know what they are saying (about you)?
Do you know how to participate and respond?
Show examples of other government users and their experiences.
Suggest starting slowly, experimenting with a few tools, and be ready to adapt to ever-changing situations and technologies.
Final Notes (cont.)
Rob Hill
Rob Hill
started out as a volunteer for Stillwater Emergency Management, then became an employee of the Stillwater Parks & Recreation Department, where he worked for 13 years before transferring to the Stillwater Office of Emergency Management.
Rob has been the emergency management technician for the past 12 years, responsibilities including: organizing and training the volunteers, communications equipment, emergency communication operations, maintaining and deploying equipment to emergencies and social media. He is now the Director for Stillwater
Social Media in Emergency Management
Ron King
Ron King
started out in law enforcement as police officer, but is now an IT Manager for Oklahoma State University. He also works for OSUPD as a communications officer and is a volunteer with the Stillwater Emergency Management Agency as the Social Media Liaison.

He works closely with Rob Hill in regards to SEMA’s social media presence for both daily and emergency related announcements.
Social Media in Emergency Management
Course Overview

Social media is a new technology that not only allows for another channel of broadcasting messages to the public, but also allows for two way communication between emergency managers and major stakeholder groups. Increasingly the public is turning to social media technologies to obtain up to date information during emergencies and to share data about the disaster in the form of geo data, text, pictures, video, or a combination of these media.

IS-42: Social Media in EM
Social media also can allow for greater situational awareness for emergency responders. While social media allows for many opportunities to engage in an effective conversation with stakeholders, it also holds many challenges for emergency managers.

The purpose of this course is to provide the participants with best practices including tools, techniques and a basic roadmap to build capabilities in the use of social media technologies in their own emergency management organizations (State, local, Tribal) in order to further their emergency response missions.
IS-42: Social Media in EM
What is Social Media?

"Social media is an innovative way of socializing where we engage in an open dialogue, tell our stories and interact with one another using online platforms." (Associated Press, 2010)
What is Social Media?
The information in the following presentation has been collected and put together from two different programs. As well as, professional experiences by the presenter.

Social Media for Natural Disaster Response and Recovery
FEMA IS-42 - Social Media in Emergency Management

Social Media in Emergency Management
Attributes and Objectives of Social Media

Get the message out faster
Reach more people through another communication channel
Arguably relatively low operating costs
Reach people through mobile devices
Instant, highly scalable
Direct from the source
Social Media in Emergency Management
Traditional Media

Some are real time
Controlled by the media
Large infrastructure required for large reach
Media is the middleman
Social Media in Emergency Management
Social Media

Real Time
Can be updated instantly by anyone
Broader reach for lower cost
Direct from source
Social Media in Emergency Management
Who Uses Social Media?

73% of adult internet users use social networking sites (Pew Research Center, 2013)
74% of people with disabilities use social media (Wireless RERC, 2013)
98% of state use social media to disseminate emergency information (Wireless RERC, 2013)
Social Media in Emergency Management
Growing Group of Interested Stakeholders

Public Safety
Technology Industry
Community at Large
Community-based Organizations
Social Media in Emergency Management
Social Media Applications
Social Media in Emergency Management

Started in 2004
Social Networking site
1.23B+ active users
-approximately 20% from U.S.
Social Media in Emergency Management

Started in 2006
Microblogging and social networking service
140 character limit
240M+ active users, 500M tweets a day
Social Media in Emergency Management

Launched in 2005
Watch and Share originally shared videos
3B+ videos viewed a day
More video is uploaded to YouTube in one month than the 3 major U.S. networks created in 60 years.
Social Media in Emergency Management

Launced in January 2013 by Twitter
6-second, looping video sharing app
40M+ users
Social Media in Emergency Management

Launced in March 2010
70M+ active users
Pin-board style photo sharing
Users can browse boards and "re-pin" content
80% of total pins are "re-pins"
Social Media in Emergency Management
Challenges of Social Media and Public Information

People Expect 2-way communication
Considerations must be made for vulnerable populations
Inaccurate information can spread quickly on social media
Difficult to reach population not connected to social media
Social Media in Emergency Management
So, you want to implement social media into your program.

Where do you start?
Will I get buy-in from administrators?
How will this change my organization?
Do I have enough man-power to make this implementation successful?
Which social media venue should I focus on, and why?

Social Media in Emergency Management
Today we will exam two different takes on social media and primarily focus on Facebook as the medium.
One is considered a “Corporate Page”, supported by administrators and staff.
The second is standard profile page, run by an emergency manager and contains personal information, as well as, professional information.
We will exam the differences in the style of messages posted to each page and we will talk about the restrictions and freedoms associated with both profiles.

Social Media in Emergency Management
Social Media in Emergency Management
Social Media in Emergency Management
Social Media in Emergency Management
Personal Page

On a personal page you can post both personal and professional information.
You can interact with “friends” or “followers” on a personal basis with relatively no restrictions to your posts.
“Friends” can ask very detailed information and expect a relatively detailed reply that can include personal opinion.

Social Media in Emergency Management
Corporate Page

On a corporate page information exchange is directed and guided by policy and the active event.
Interactions with “followers” has to remain professional, no personal opinions allowed.
Replies or answers to the “follower” have to be washed. The answers must focus on the event, response and/or request.

Social Media in Emergency Management
Personal Page

On a personal page, the account holder mostly likely knows the persons with whom they interact.
There is a feeling of security and safety within the page.
If you cross someone, there is no loss of credibility for an organization, it is simply between two or three people

Social Media in Emergency Management
Corporate Page

On a corporate page the “administrators” do not necessarily know those with whom they are interacting.
There is always a level of consciousness that must be applied to responses, requests or directions.
If you respond in a way that does not appear to have the “followers” best interest at hand, it can jeopardize the credibility of the organization.

Social Media in Emergency Management
City of Stillwater
What did we do to implement our Facebook page?
How did we get started?
At first we were combined with the City of Stillwater’s main FB page.
We were competing for informational space like; trash pickup will run on all holidays.
We were competing with information about road closures and electric bills being paid online
We quickly found out that our information was being over looked, or lost.
People did not want to sift through the endless pages of information to find our post about the weekend weather or upcoming special event.
The persons interested in the type of information that the main city FB page was producing, wanted nothing to do with the information we were sharing.

Social Media in Emergency Management
City of Stillwater
We took a poll.
We asked our volunteers what type of information would they want to see. Our front line people.
We went FB stalking on other EM FB pages. We got ideas from other FB accounts.
We contacted some of our closest partners and ask them what type of information would benefit them.
We designed a page, but did not allow it to be broadcast.
We created FB notes that described who we are and what we where about
We included Emergency Contact numbers, Road conditions, definitions of terms, when storm siren tests were and contact information.
We went into detail on the “About” page.
We wanted to be descriptive about what types of services we would provide through social media, who we were in relation to the community and what our goal was for this service.
We also enlisted the help of a very technically savvy IT person to help train us on FB.

Social Media in Emergency Management
City of Stillwater
Then we opened up our page to the community.
And we waited.
We posted weather information at first.
We posted Special Event photos with descriptions
We posted every time we had an interaction with the public.
We sent notices to all of our friends to “like” the page we had created.
We sent notices and invites to our partners to “like” our page.
We were in what IS-42 calls level 1, or the “monitor” stage. Not much interaction

Social Media in Emergency Management
City of Stillwater
Then we opened up our page to the community.
Things moved slow, very slow.
We did not get that many “likes” at first. We had to promote our page.
We had to start including our accounts on the bottom of emails.
We posted it all over our web page.
We even got a short 10 second PSA on our local cable access channel.
Then things started to move along. Our numbers went up.

Social Media in Emergency Management
City of Stillwater
What we later found, we were building credibility.
We were challenged as an agency. We were challenged as individuals doing an EM job. We were challenged for our posts.
And we were challenged over our decisions during severe weather.
Justifying ourselves to our own community.
Very early in the release of our FB page, we had a comment from a “follower” that we did not activate our early warning systems as soon as the television news media said we should have.
This was met with great interest from other “followers”. We could see a band wagon effect taking place.
This is where a our guidelines came into play; we explained in an open FB forum to our “follower” what our process was, why we responded in the way that we did. In the end we made some very faithful allies in the community.

Social Media in Emergency Management
City of Stillwater
We now have a strong following of supporters
Our “followers” help to answer questions from other newer “followers”.
We can now send FB posts and reach 15,000 people with only 2,600 “followers”.
We can interact directly of our “followers”. We can ask questions and get real feedback. Not, just complaints that we are not doing enough. There are still those that complain about everything and there always will be, but we do not remove their complaints from the “timeline”.

Social Media in Emergency Management
City of Stillwater
So how do we use Social Media during events?
We have three people in our office that are “Administrators” of the our page.
Prior to Severe Weather events, staff does the initial postings.
During Severe Weather events, the “administrators” come to the office and assume the social media liaison role.
They post directly from our work area so that factual, timely and directed information is given to the public.
We do the same for special events. “Administrators” post from the command post directly to the public.
Social Media in Emergency Management
City of Stillwater
Issues and/or problems
No matter how much we were told by advisors, social media is 24/7, we just did not listen.
When we first started posting, we did it M-F 8-5. It was relatively relaxed and not very stressful.
As our page grew, so did the number of questions about what was going on in certain locations.
We got wrapped up in the mix and tried to keep up, this proved to be erroneous on our part, we simply could not keep up.
So, we had to step back. We went back to our original reason for having social media, which was to notify the public of emergencies within the community, not day-to-day activities with police, fire, ems or public works.

Social Media in Emergency Management
City of Stillwater
Issues and/or problems
Posting false information
We posted about a power outage that was affecting a small area of town. It was initially reported that 75% of town was without power.
We posted the wrong information and took a beating.
Our electric utility was not happy.
Customers thought our infrastructure was weak and needed improvement and ultimately complained to city staff that wanted to know what WE were doing….

Social Media in Emergency Management
City of Stillwater
Things to consider;
Who is your target audience using social media?
Did you know that 22% of all people have no form of contemporary communications. Limited only to television, radio and telephone.
Social Media is not timely.
Delays in receiving data can be drastic.
Once you post it is hard to take it back or recover
Keep control over your account, delete those messages that are not relevant to your intent.
Above all else, this should be considered as a resource, not

Social Media in Emergency Management
City of Stillwater
Issues and/or problems

Our trusted followers came to our defense and defended us.
Many "comments" were made about how hard it is to keep information correct and that we were allowed some "mistakes".
We also got recognition for posting a correction, it was noted by one "follower" that, "at least we took the time to correct our mistake....".

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