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2012: NW Ohio Public Health: Trick or Tweet - Social Media Use during Hurricane Irene and the NJ Halloweeen Snowstorm
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2012: NW Ohio Public Health: Trick or Tweet - Social Media Use during Hurricane Irene and the NJ Halloweeen Snowstorm


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Instantly Informed was a full day of presentations, and a simulation exercise, sponsored by NW Ohio Public Health. This presentation explains the use of social media during the NJ weather events of …

Instantly Informed was a full day of presentations, and a simulation exercise, sponsored by NW Ohio Public Health. This presentation explains the use of social media during the NJ weather events of Hurricane Irene and the immediately following Halloweeen snowstorm.

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  • So, how did MCUrgent get started?
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  • Morris County went live with Twitter and Facebook in August 2009. We soft-launched MCUrgent just as Hurricane Earl was approaching the east coast in September 2010. In December 2010, State of Emergency was declared. No one in EOC, however we posted a lot of preparedness info on MCUrgent.
  • Morris County has now committed to having a social media presence in the EOC during any declared emergency.
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  • 1 in 8 US married couples met via social media.
    Gen X and Gen Y are our families, workers, commuters, taxpayers, voters…
  • Info should be coming from gov’t anyway to these channels
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  • Transcript

    • 1. Trick or Tweet Social Media, Hurricane Irene & the Halloween Snowstorm Carol A. Spencer Digital & Social Media Manager County of Morris NJ Instantly Informed: #SocialMediaTraining for PH Emergencies NW Ohio Public Health July 27, 2012
    • 2. What we’ll discuss… • MCUrgent: What it is. How it works. • How Morris County used social media during Hurricane Irene & the Halloween Snowstorm • Why social media is a critical communications channel • Why county government should take the lead • What NJ government web professionals want you to know • How well it worked: stats and citizen response • How to implement MCUrgent in your county
    • 3. M r i s Count y’ s Shar ed, M t i or ul j ur i sdi ct i onal Em gency I nf or m i on Net wor k er at What it is. How it works.
    • 4. What is MCUrgent? • An application that utilizes the power of social media to share official emergency information during an emergency with multi-jurisdictional impact. • Led by Morris County’s Office of Emergency Management, MCUrgent will ultimately include all 39 towns posting to a single Twitter feed and Facebook page. • Twitter RSS feed pulled into home page, YouTown mobile application. Via a Twitter widget, can be put on any web page. • Individual town emergency notices can be posted to a town’s website, Twitter feed or Facebook page at the same time.
    • 5. Developing MCUrgent: NJ Disasters • January 1996: State of Emergency declared in NJ due to excessive snowfall. Lasted 6 days. • August 1999: Drought Emergency declared in NJ. Lasted until Hurricane Floyd. • September 1999: Hurricane Floyd. 6 deaths. 26,000 evacuations in NJ. 616,000 without power for 5 days or more. 500,000 had to boil water for 8 days. Worst natural disaster in NJ history. • August 2000: 14” rain, 2600 people evacuated, 4 dams breached in Sussex / Morris counties • June 2001: Inferno closes Route 80 completely for 3 days; 50% for three months. • September 2004: Hurricane Ivan. Delaware River peak highest since 1955. • March 2010: Record snowfall, then nor’easter. State of Emergency declared.
    • 6. How MCUrgent Works #MCParsip RT 46 WB between New Rd and Rt 202/Parsippany Rd flooded. All lanes closed. 6:37 AM Mar 15 via Twitter th Twitter (MCUrgent) Facebook Parsippany (MCUrgent) Morris Twp Denville Riverdale Dover Twitter Towns create a post using Hootsuite (MorrisCountyNJ) Facebook (MorrisCountyNJ) Twitter (Town feed) Facebook (Town page)
    • 7. MCUrgent Foundation: Twitter • No login required to get messages • Short, easily read messages link back to detail on the web • Twitter widgets freely available; easy to put on web pages • Twitter RSS feed can be pulled into many apps (YouTown) • Twitter Fast Follow capability sends posts as txt messages • Can post from desktop, laptop, tablet, iPhone, iPad, Android phones, Blackberry phones. • Often, text can get out when phone calls cannot. Twitter Fast Follow goes as text. Text ‘follow mcurgent’ to 40404 •
    • 8. How Morris County used social media during Hurricane Irene & the Halloween Snowstorm
    • 9. Getting Ready: Plan and Prepare Pre-Irene • Morris County had set up MCUrgent on Facebook, Twitter, and registered the domain name: • Freeholders (governing body) adopted a social media policy. • We designed a system where the county and towns could all post to the same Facebook and Twitter accounts. • • • • • Morris County is the primary account holder Towns are invited to post to the County account Each town has a unique username / password for security Towns can also post to their own accounts at the same time 8 County individuals are trained: 1 primary; 3 backups; 4 if needed. • OEM identified some towns, others volunteered. Started with 6 towns. Currently have trained 20 of 39. • Towns selected their posters. Morris County trained them. • We issued press releases about MCUrgent. Posted about MCUrgent via @MorrisCountyNJ &
    • 10. Hurricane Irene & Halloween Storm During the storms • During Hurricane Irene, a social media poster was in the EOC • During the Halloween Snowstorm, social media posts were done from home. • Using Hootsuite, we posted to Facebook & Twitter, both to MCUrgent and MorrisCountyNJ • We created a blog for road closure updates • We created a separate blog for shelter, ice, water, recharging stations • We utilized our web feedback form for people to send us anything that included personally identifiable information. • We posted information that was coming into the EOC from E-Teams. • We monitored town websites & FB, Twitter, Nixle accounts.
    • 11. Hurricane Irene Information Dissemination Diagram Key Town post County post Town or County post Auto post { Town websites Any other entity that wants to pull our RSS Feed MCUrgent Feed MCUrgent FB Page Mobile Application (YouTown) Twitter ‘Fast Follow’ Town or County OEM Publishes a Tweet Town FB Page Town Feed Hurricane Irene blog on for road closures, power outages, recovery information. Tweets and FB postings linked to the blog(s). MorrisCountyNJ and/or MCUrgent Twitter & FB (retweets)
    • 12. Why Social Media is a Critical Communications Channel
    • 13. Why be in the social space We’re social and mobile… • Gen Y (17 to 34) & Gen X (35 to 45) have abandoned email • 96% of Gen Y belong to a social network • If FB were a country, it would be the 3rd largest • Fastest growing segment on FB is women, 55 – 65 • US mobile penetration: 110% (phones, tablets) • March 2012: more than 100M smartphone users in the US, up 13% just since October 2011 • 74.6% of adults and 87% of teens text message on their phones People expect to get information where they want it
    • 14. Emergency Communications • Television: local jurisdictions don’t typically have access; worthless without electricity • Radio: Lack of local broadcast channels; reliance on commercial stations • Reverse 9-1-1: Many have given up their landlines and replaced with unlisted cell phones • Websites: Outsourced? Local server? Need web professional to do updates • CRM Systems: Expensive, require registration • Social Media: Doesn’t require electricity, registration, can receive / post from anywhere
    • 15. Social Media is a critical channel • Social media is the first place people go for information during an emergency • Messages are retrievable on any device • Messages are retrievable when power is out • It runs on non-local, redundant servers: – Twitter, Facebook, Google (Blogger, YouTube), Wufoo – It stays up when your own website may be down • People can message your jurisdiction via Facebook comments or Twitter mentions; Wufoo feedback form for detailed/personal communication. • You can post to social media from your phone. (You cannot typically update a website from your phone.)
    • 16. Social Media is a critical channel • It lets people know their government is working, reducing feelings of isolation, which lead to fear and anxiety • Reduces phone calls looking for information • Increases public participation • Information is sharable and spreads faster than possible with any other communication channel • People around the world can access the information. Parents / children out of state can follow updates. • No other channel can get important information out to so many so quickly
    • 17. The message spreads quickly Twitter (MCUrgent) Facebook (MCUrgent) Twitter (MorrisCountyNJ) Facebook (MorrisCountyNJ) Twitter (Town feed) Facebook (Town page) 1,137 1,274 2,617 993 157 235 6,413 people could get the message with just 1 click of the mouse. Twitter “Fast Follow” users are not included here so the number contacted is higher.
    • 18. Why Counties Need to Lead Hello
    • 19. Why Counties Need to Lead • Most major emergencies involve multiple municipalities or transportation routes that traverse multiple municipalities • Municipalities are not silos. Today, people move among and between them constantly. • People need information in one place for multiple municipalities. – People may live in one town and have elderly parents, or children, in another. – People live in one town and work in another. • Information is presented in a consistent fashion, in one place • It’s just not practical to think people will check multiple local websites when they try to drive from one side of the county to the other. – is a good example. Similar concept.
    • 20. Why Counties Need to Lead • County OEM already aggregates information from towns during a multi-jurisdictional emergency. • Counties can apply this same concept for public information. • This is a PERFECT shared service – Implementation is consistent from town to town – County designs the system and trains town personnel; towns or county can do the posting. – Added benefit for towns is learning how to implement their own social media, enhancing municipal public communication – Any fee-based product is purchased once for use by all – Information aggregation benefits the public
    • 21. What NJ Government Web Professionals Want You to Know Comments from members of
    • 22. Hurricane Irene & Halloween Storm We learned: • During declared emergencies, someone needs to be in the EOC posting to social media • Someone needs to be trained, and available, as a backup. • Be technologically prepared to post if electricity is out or wired / wireless network is out (air card) • Have outside connection to the internet to post without using the county network • Be prepared for major increases in web traffic • Be ready for internal servers to be down, if hosting internally • Consider hosting company in another part of the country, if hosting externally • Have a way to post details (blog) and handle PII (secure form)
    • 23. Hurricane Irene & Halloween Storm Comments from members: • We’re the last thought of internally, yet the first thought of externally. • Posting from home is not efficient. • There is no way to know when someone’s connection from home fails. The public is relying on this information and they don’t know either. In one town, the last post before home power went out was a tornado warning. • Without hearing what’s going on in the EOC, the posting web professional is “flying blind” • No visibility of E-teams or white board information. No idea when to take down or correct information • No access to people for verification or correction of information. No access to officials to respond to public questions or incorrect public postings.
    • 24. Hurricane Irene & Halloween Storm Comments from members: • Reporting structure needs to be clear, determined in advance, to avoid confusion. • Trust the poster. Chain of command issues can really slow down getting information out. • Road closures are the most sought out information. Learning Google maps or using GIS can be very effective. • Include web / social media people in the ADVANCE planning meetings. • Include web / social media people in the AFTER-ACTION reporting meetings. • Provide preparedness information for dissemination in advance.
    • 25. How Well it Worked Hello
    • 26. Hurricane Irene: Morris County Stats Website(s) •Homepage views Irene Typical 75,155 26,000 Blogger •Irene & MorrisCountyNJ 36,991 2,400 Facebook •MorrisCountyNJ •MCUrgent 49,610 99,005 5,500 400 Twitter •MorrisCountyNJ •MCUrgent 169,292 20,448 18,000 0 450,337 52,300 TOTAL VIEWS
    • 27. The Public’s Opinion Hello
    • 28. How to Implement MCUrgent in your County • Determine the lead department / agency • Design your own system or copy ours • Obtain Administration / Governing Body buy-in • Present the concept to the towns via OEM Coordinators, county league of municipalities, Chief of Police Associations or other municipal membership entities • Implement at the County level first. • Implement with a few towns and grow. • Provide hands-on training. Design your own or copy ours • Be prepared to post for the towns, in the EOC, during a major emergency as their confidence builds.
    • 29. Contact Information Carol A Spencer, Digital & Social Media Manager Morris County NJ Website Twitter or MCUrgent Facebook or MCUrgent YouTube Scribd Email CSpencer@co.Morris.NJ.US National Association of Government Webmasters Website Twitter Facebook GovLoop Email
    • 30. Trick or Tweet Social Media, Hurricane Irene & the Halloween Snowstorm Carol A. Spencer Digital & Social Media Manager County of Morris NJ Instantly Informed: #SocialMediaTraining for PH Emergencies NW Ohio Public Health July 27, 2012