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Setting the scene: emergencies in social media
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Setting the scene: emergencies in social media


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Presentation given at AEMI Connections! 2014

Presentation given at AEMI Connections! 2014

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  • 1. Setting the scene Craig Thomler Gov 2.0 Advocate & Managing Director Delib Australia Social Media Masterclass Connections July 2014
  • 2. Hi, I’m Craig
  • 3. Australia is a social nation
  • 4. Online and mobile are important Source: We are Social -
  • 5. Social is important Source: We are Social -
  • 6. We’re not an exception, or the most social Source: We are Social -
  • 7. Few emergencies won’t go social
  • 8. Ignoring social isn’t an option anymore
  • 9. Abstinence is not effective • Refusing to engage in social usually leads to poor outcomes Perceived as old-fashioned, out-of-touch and bureaucratic, plus you can’t put your side forward • It’s no longer about ‘denying a rumour oxygen’ Millions of people and organisations are able to provide oxygen to an emergency rumour regardless of your decision • Social media fires need social media water Attempting to respond to a emergency that’s gone social via a media release or briefing has a high probability of failing as it doesn’t stop discussion at the source
  • 10. The choice isn’t ‘do or not do’ Source: Erik Qualman
  • 11. Social media increases access to trusted sources Comparative trust in institutions is low Source: Edelman Trust Barometer 2013
  • 12. Message control is not possible
  • 13. While you can’t control, you can influence Influence Control • Increased noise • Loss of authority • Greater grassroots coordination • Can respond faster • Removal of filter organisations • More channels increases reach • Greater two-way capability • More intelligence • Marshall supporters
  • 14. Same Different • Clear roles and responsibilities matter • Traditional media still reaches lots of people • People still want clear and straightforward information • Confusion remains common • Speed & depth increased • Traditional media is only one set of channels for your messages • Driven by trust in people, not just in organisations • The tools to investigate, speculate and mobilise are widespread and cheap or free Not everything has changed
  • 15. RecoveryEvaluationResolutionEvent Pre- event Fast facts, contacts, issue identification Holding statement Full statement Press conference, status reports Lessons learned Conventional emergency communications: Monitoring, channels, approval process Acknowledge, channel co-ordination and responses Ongoing monitoring, responses & clarification Influencer follow-up, changes to channels Transparency of data, proactive Q&A opportunities Social media emergency communications: Adding a social dimension to emergencies Co-ordinate, rebuild Engage, involve, co-ordinate, report
  • 16. Don’t start with the tools
  • 17. Don’t build on feet of clay
  • 18. Emergency practice Guidance and training Strategy and framework Social media policy Agency instructions and policies Government policies and guidelines Legislation and international agreements Put a social media infrastructure in place
  • 19. 1. Social media rewards fast, human responses in line with your organisation’s brand personality. 2. Become a credible, transparent source of information. 3. Avert problems: set rules for your channels, manage expectations, build relationships. 4. Train and prepare your staff to anticipate and manage emergencies and issues effectively. Key principles
  • 20. & Support can come from anywhere
  • 21. Brisbane, Australia Clapham, UK So develop systems to manage it
  • 22. We’ve considered every potential risk except the risks of avoiding all risks.” Adjust your risk management approach
  • 23. What’s the risk to your organisation of NOT engaging via social media? And consider the risk of not engaging
  • 24. The biggest risk for agencies assessing social media risks is when the people assessing the risks don’t understand and/or use the social channels they’re assessing. Ensure people assessing risks are informed
  • 25. Becoming aware of something doesn’t necessarily mean the level of risk associated with it has increased. Aware Unaware Avoid confusing awareness with risk
  • 26. Such as:  Twitter (for real-time news distribution)  Blog hosted externally (for long-form updates)  Facebook page (for community building)  Flickr group (for photo capture)  Ushahidi instance (for geomapped incident reports)  Youtube (for video footage and reports)  Provide context and user guidance for all, set right settings per channel (ie: no commenting on YouTube) Prepare channels ahead of need
  • 27. Time Size/engagement Reputational Technological Conversational Administrative Technological Conversational Security Privacy Technological Reputational Understand the community you’ve engaged
  • 28. Mumbai Terrorist attack (2008) Mumbai, India Moments after the attack, eye witnesses were posting tweets and photos to Twitter – at rate of 14 per second. Twitter was also used by community to encourage blood donors to go to JJ Hospital where supplies were low. Mumbai bloggers repurposed the Metroblog as a real- time news wire for residents and the world, and created the Mumbai Help blog to help people get information on missing and injured people to relatives around the world. Volunteers created a Wikipedia page which tracked events minute by minute and a Google map of the area and attacks was created by users within minutes. Indian authorities reportedly considered closing Twitter to stop terrorists getting information, however used social media themselves to direct emergency services.Source: news-Bombay-India.html
  • 29. Source: UK Riots (2011) London, United Kingdom Rioters used Blackberry messaging (a secure system) to share details of riot gathering points and targets. A man who put a riot message on Facebook turned up at the location to find police waiting to arrest him. Similarly people who advocated for the riots on Twitter were arrested and tried. UK government considered closing down Twitter and Facebook during similar future episodes of violence, but concluded it would too seriously hamper information sharing for law abiding citizens and emergency services. Conclusion was that the real causes of the riots were social inequities and long-term unemployment. Social media was simply a way of sharing information, for good or ill.
  • 30. Source: earthquake Sichuan earthquake (2008) Sichuan Province, China The 2008 Sichuan earthquake killed 68,000 people, particularly many school children. Earthquake messages were circulating on social media as it was occurring. The last earthquake of the same magnitude in China took three months before China admitted it had even happened. Within minutes volunteers had donation sites in place and over US$12 million was raised in the first 24 hrs, before the government had made an appeal for aid. The conversation turned sour after a few days when Chinese parents realised many school deaths were caused by corrupt officials approving substandard work. This led to a clampdown on social media by the government to stifle dissent.
  • 31. Source: Hurricane Irene (2011) Hurricane Sandy (2012) Morris County, New Jersey, USA County officials established Facebook page, Twitter account and management tools for Irene as a cheap 2-way communication system that could remain operational when electricity went out. Started advising locals off what to do prior to impact. Informed over 480,000 residents during Irene over six day period. For Sandy, added a road closure blog and a public information blog. Also monitored Twitter hashtag to collect vital information for emergency services and utility companies regarding trapped people and critical outages. Fielded hundreds of enquiries via Twitter and Facebook.
  • 32. Source: Black Sunday bushfires (2009) Victoria, Australia Over 400 fires swept through country Victoria, killing more than 170 people and destroying over 2,000 homes and 3,500 other structures. The Country Fire Service’s website went down, leaving residents reliant on a volunteer Google map for information on fire locations. Social media was used by authorities to communicate information to remote towns and direct resources to crisis locations. Volunteers helped the town of Flowerdale create a fire recovery wiki, which was used to explore and share their recovery efforts. Subsequently the CFA created the FireReady app, and popular Facebook and Twitter accounts. The CFA now has two social media officers in the state emergency command centre.
  • 33. Source: earthquake-world-photos-meltdown/ Japanese Tsunami (2011) Fukushima Province, Japan The 2011 Japanese tsunami, caused by an undersea earthquake, resulted in over 19,000 deaths in Fukushima province. Social media was used by citizens and media to extensively share information about the impact and the safety of areas around the damaged Fukushima nuclear reactor. Over 9,000 earthquake and 7,000 tsunami videos were uploaded to YouTube within a day of the events. However the government struggled to obtain or share accurate information using their official channels and avoided use of social media. Google launched a crisis centre to allow public information sharing and, with telephone networks down for days, social media became the only source of timely local information for many Japanese.
  • 34. Source: Haiti earthquake (2007) Haiti Images of the devastating 2007 Haiti earthquake, which killed over 230,000 people, were appearing on social media services before emergency services or the media had reached the island. There were no accurate street maps of Haiti, so locals worked with foreign volunteers to map Port-au-Prince using OpenStreetMap within a few days, aiding emergency workers to identify the worse affected areas and how to get in and out to rescue trapped people. Mobile phones were used to find trapped people, with several saved when they called relatives in the US, who sent their location to emergency services via social media. Ushahidi was used extensively to coordinate and map emergency information, with a team sharing it with response teams on the ground.
  • 35. Preparing for an emergency • Mitigate employee risks • Put a social media policy in place • Raise digital literacy across organisation (training) • Mitigate organisational risks • Develop a social media strategy, official use standards and guidelines • Implement early detection processes • Develop a social listening/monitoring framework & invest in a system • Develop a social media triage approach (workflow for handling issues) • Map potential scenarios & develop mitigation plans • You already know the most likely emergencies your organisation will face, map your social media approach, pre-approve templates and processes & establish engagement protocols
  • 36. Preparing for an emergency • Integrate social media into emergency planning • Include in emergency management plans • Include in risk management plans • Integrate into crisis command centre • Include in simulations to test processes and staff • Establish your social channels • Ensure you have an active presence on key social platforms, gives you a method of reply as well as experience using them • Identify expert / influential allies & build relationships • Bring and keep influencers and experts on side to the extent possible, so they are more inclined to support/share your messages • Identify partners you can work with to address issues (other agencies, service providers, etc)
  • 37. When it starts • Triage the situation • Extent of risk, source, channels, influencers/sharers, messages, propagation speed • Respond early • Holding statement or facts of situation to localise and contain issues • Flag to management & affected stakeholders • What, where, why and what you’re doing/need from them • Corral a team • Bring onboard the help needed – internal AND external supporters • Remain proactive and responsive, not defensive • Repeat facts as available & needed, don’t be silent, evasive, combative, or officious • Keep engaging! • Avoid adding fuel • Joking or sarcastic responses, escalating (media release), taking blame quickly
  • 38. Monitor Potential emergencyi dentified Assess against triage plan Contain with preplanned/ factual quick response Escalate as necessary Active crisis team if necessary Respond proactively and authenticall y When it starts - crisis cycle
  • 39. Triage workflow like this…
  • 40. Or like this…
  • 41. Develop an online crisis response framework
  • 42. Prepare a ‘submarine’ site for crises
  • 43. In the workflow & response consider • Is it a new/recurring crisis? (existing procedures?) • Is it real or a hoax? (and is that important?) • What is the scale? (likely impact) • What is the reach? (local/national/global) • Who is involved? (participants/influencers) • Who has something to gain? • What do you know vs what is being discussed? (information asymmetry) • What do people want? (comfort, action, resolution) • Who is in charge? (authority/authentic voice)
  • 44. What would you do? • Series of major terrorist strikes in city • Citizens take to Twitter and Facebook to share information and images, ask for help and to find their loved ones • Real-time map put together by community with details of where terrorist attacks have occurred & where police presence makes areas safe • Rumours start spreading that government will shut down social media to stop terrorists accessing information • Uproar at government for threat of shutdown
  • 45. It really happened
  • 46. Useful resources Source:
  • 47. Useful tools Source:
  • 48. Useful tools Source:
  • 49. There’s no such thing as social media emergency management Final thoughts
  • 50. There’s simply emergency management, which almost always involves social media channels Final thoughts
  • 51. Thanks! Craig Thomler @CraigThomler @Delibaunz