Stephenson H1 N1 2

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Making public true partners in H1N1 preparation & response through creative use of social media tools such as Twitter and wikis. My presentation for a 10/29/09 webinar also involving presos by Google, Microsoft & CDC.

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  • My remarks today refer back to my presentation in our earlier webinar. In it, I demonstrated that social media are ideally suited to the communications needs in disasters, because they foster the kind of emergent behavior that effective disaster response requires. Emergent behavior, for those of you who didn’t hear that presentation, is the phenomenon, first observed in the social insects, in which very simple organisms coming together in a colony, are collectively capable of amazingly sophisticated actions. In recent years, emergent behavior has been applied to human organizational issues as well.   Researchers at the Universities of Delaware and Colorado have demonstrated it is particularly relevant to disasters, which:   can’t be managed by simply adding more resources don’t respect geographic boundaries are unpredictable, and rapidly changing, as we see every day with H1N1 may require new leaders to emerge because first responders may themselves be victims. With the rise of networked social communication devices and applications, for the first time, I believe we actually have a communication technology that will directly foster the kind of emergent behavior needed to respond to H1N1 if conventional planning proves inadequate. Their organization and strengths are in alignment with emergent behavior: networked, so they have significant advantages in emergencies compared to traditional, centralized and broadcast one-to-many notification services. two-way, so that they can gather information from the public, not just distribute it from authorities packet-based, so they can route around any kind of infrastructure disruption IP-based, so any kind of IP-based content can be automatically shared by any device Finally, while emergent behavior can and will evolve even among perfect strangers. it stands to reason that the chances of a speedier, better coordinated and more all-encompassing response are increased when an existing social network – even if it is only a virtual one – is already in place. The members will already recognize and trust each other, and won’t have to start by literally or figuratively introducing each other.
  • What I stressed in that earlier presentation and want to emphasize again today, is that it’s not enough to use the social media as an alternative broadcast technology, as seems to be the primary way they are being used in dealing with H1N1. Their real value comes from two way-communication and using them to make the public true partners in preparation and response, providing reliable, actionable information, lending their personal credibility to the effort, and so on .   I want to give you several examples of how that might be done.
  • It’s not enough to have an on-the-shelf plan to use social media in an emergency, because their influence and effectiveness will be limited if you haven’t taken the time to create a relationship with the community in advance.   Yet, almost all government agencies fail to do that: the flow of information is almost exclusively outward bound, rather than actively encouraging two-way relationship building. Consider these two Twitter pages: one from the City of San Francisco’s Office of Emergency Management, and the other from the Philadelphia Office of Emergency Management. San Francisco follows 25, mostly government agencies. Philly follows 2,000, mainly individuals, and goes out of its way to cultivate trust with them in advance of emergencies.
  • Wikipedia has supported creation of the Flu Wiki, which, IMHO, does a great job of aggregating latest info. world-wide on H1N1.   A Wiki is also ideal because it allows crowd-sourcing of information. That allows you, on one hand, to have the latest official information – and remember that in this case it’s crucial that people have access to the latest data and don’t get confused by obsolete information. A wiki is ideal in that respect. At the same time, it allows creation of localized pages that zero in on local conditions, and, equally important, allows crowdsourcing of information on how various neighborhoods, social groups or others are coping. It’s that combination of providing the latest information in a single place and crowdsourcing that makes wikis ideal in this sort of situation.
  • Thank you very much.
  • Stephenson H1 N1 2

    1. 1. Making public true partners in N1N1 response <ul><li>Creative two-way use of social media </li></ul><ul><li>W. David Stephenson </li></ul><ul><li>Stephenson Strategies </li></ul><ul><li>October 29, 2009 </li></ul>
    2. 2. Social Media stimulate emergent behavior vital in crises <ul><li>networked making them more robust than traditional, centralized and broadcast one-to-many notification services. </li></ul><ul><li>two-way, so that they can gather information from the public, not just distribute it from authorities </li></ul><ul><li>packet- and IP-based </li></ul><ul><li>Facilitate emergent behavior by capitalizing on an existing social network – even if it is only virtual </li></ul>
    3. 3. <ul><li>not enough to use the social media as alternative broadcast technology. Real value comes from two way-communication and using them to make the public true partners in preparation and response, providing reliable, actionable information, lending their personal credibility to the effort, and so on . </li></ul>
    4. 4. Build relationship in advance Follows 2000 Follows 25
    5. 5. Use wiki for real-time accuracy, crowdsourcing
    6. 6. <ul><li>For more information on “networked disaster management” </li></ul><ul><li>Contact: </li></ul><ul><li>W. David Stephenson </li></ul><ul><li>Stephenson Strategies </li></ul><ul><li>508 740-8918 </li></ul><ul><li>Twitter: DavidStephenson </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul>

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