State DOTs Using Social Media During Extreme Weather Events

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State DOTs are using a variety of tools to communicate with the public before, during and after extreme weather events. This presentation looks at social media and communication best practices …

State DOTs are using a variety of tools to communicate with the public before, during and after extreme weather events. This presentation looks at social media and communication best practices involving extreme weather events.

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  • 1. Innovative communication strategiesduring extreme weather eventsLloyd D. BrownDirector of CommunicationsAmerican Association of StateHighway and Transportation OfficialsNational Symposium on Extreme Weather EventImpacts on Transportation InfrastructureWashington, DCMay 22, 2013
  • 2. My background: WSDOTcommunications (2002-2010)• Numerous naturaland man-madedisasters• In 2005, deployedFEMA HurricaneKatrina Recovery.Gov. Gregoire’s Communication’s Directorduring 2007 statewide natural disaster.
  • 3. What we’ll cover• What is social media• Before an event• During an event• After an eventGoal: Grow and maintain credibility withpublic, business and elected officials.
  • 4. Social media toolsWhat’s so social about today’s media?• Facebook• Twitter• YouTubeIt’s all about the conversation!
  • 5. Social media is …Changing the way people interact• It gives a glimpse into an event• It’s real time, immediate• It provides information from the field• It’s resilient when traditional mediastruggles• It’s mobile
  • 6. DOTs using social media• AASHTO’s first social media survey ofstate DOTs published in 2010.• 26 states were using Twitter – primarilyrelaying road/traffic information• 14 states used Facebook.• 7 states had a blog• 10 states used podcasting
  • 7. Social Media Tool UsageMostusedsocialmediatools
  • 8. Social media is not ..• A silver bullet. It can’t do everything• A stand-a-lone practice. It MUST be partof a complete communication effort thatincludes the basics: Key message Audience Strategies and tactics
  • 9. Before an event• There is not always time before an event.But when there is … Direct people to resources to keep in touch Manage expectations (staffing, updates) Share concern, but try to avoid over hyping.• Clearly understand audiences/needs:Freight, Media (& public), Governor/Legislative.
  • 10. During an eventWSDOT’s Standard ToolboxGoal is to ‘leverage’ the media.• Established 24-hour EOC w/social media staffing• Coordinated media relationsacross regions• Updated press releases andmedia briefings to coincide withmedia cycles• Constant web and 5-1-1 updates• Listserv, Twitter, Facebook andemail alerts sent directly to publicand industry (freight)
  • 11. Duringan eventRemember tofeed the newsoutlets.But alsoremember powerof social media togo around them
  • 12. Duringan eventTake people there.It’s too dangerousfor them, but yourcrews are in thefield.What’s the story?
  • 13. Take them to the scene
  • 14. After an event• Close the loop.• Chronicle theaftermath. Yourfolks werethere.
  • 15. NY State DOT trucks ready for action
  • 16. West Virginia maintenance crews clearingdebris
  • 17. Hurricane Sandy aftermath in Rhode Island
  • 18. North Carolina highway post-Sandy
  • 19. Sandy delivered blow to West Virginia, too
  • 20. Innovative communication strategiesduring extreme weather events4/26/2012 21Contact:Lloyd D. Brown, Director of CommunicationsAmerican Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials(202) 624-5802 office(202) 677-5811 celllbrown@aashto.org