Social Media & Emergencies for the National Capital Region


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  • Emphasize and set the tone of information dissemination – there are growing gaps in our communities as traditional media buckle under economic pressures. Even here, washingtonpost provides little coverage of what we all do, for example.
  • Explain the changing paradigm, but also discuss that social media shouldn’t be thought of as separate from other outreach methods – natural evolution of the Web.
  • -- Follow and join…a conversation about our communities is happening on social media sites, among groups of friends, at family tables and in other ways. We should be actively involved, too. -- Two-way…no different than someone calling or e-mailing us with a question. We can answer on twitter or facebook and help people find information, learn about their govt. etc. -- not a fad…just like the fax machine, then computers, then the internet…this movement toward connectedness is only growing stronger. OMB/Obama memo in May to outline/highlight the importance of Government 2.0
  • Video clip from a Denver TV station talking about the relevance of social media during emergencies.
  • Changing paradigm
  • Small example of the viral nature of social media and how it empowers people to share our information – especially important during an emergency.
  • As mentioned at the beginning, the media world is changing; everyone can now be a first informer at the scene of an incident and report on it – we’ve seen it countless times from shootings to earthquakes to floods --Wildfires in particular – LAFD PIO BH: asked people to Twitter the movement of the fires to help the Planning Section determine strategy -- San Diego Wildfires…San Diego Tribune wrote on its blog: “You shared information with each other on the blog and on our fire forums and corrected us when we were wrong. In the process, you helped us cover the news for everyone.”
  • One key to our growth: adding clear links and icons on our home page.
  • One key to our growth: adding clear links and icons on our home page.
  • Putting to bed the myth that only high school or college kids use these tools
  • Putting to bed the myth that only high school or college kids use these tools
  • Just like traditional media monitoring, it’s important to know what’s being said – here are two ways among many to follow on Twitter
  • Social Media & Emergencies for the National Capital Region

    1. 1. Social Media and Emergencies R-ESF 15 April 16, 2009
    2. 2. Today’s Media World <ul><li>Traditional media on the decline with layoffs, budget cuts, fewer printed pages and minutes of coverage. </li></ul><ul><li>Who fills the void? How do messages and information spread? How do we tell people what’s going on at the local level? </li></ul>
    3. 3. What Is Social Media? <ul><li>Anybody can publish content. </li></ul><ul><li>Another way for us to communicate with our residents through channels many are using. </li></ul><ul><li>Social media is just one tool we already use: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Web sites </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>news releases </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>hotlines </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>news conferences </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>flyers, brochures </li></ul></ul>
    4. 4. What Is Social Media? <ul><li>Follow and join the conversation; two-way interaction with people – customer service. </li></ul><ul><li>Social media is NOT a fad – it will not fade away; part of a larger Government 2.0 movement to make government more open, engaging and transparent. </li></ul>
    5. 5. What Is Social Media Video Clip from Denver TV Station
    6. 6. What Is Social Media? <ul><li>“ ... the old, linear model for information dissemination of authorities- to -public relations- to -media is outmoded...” </li></ul><ul><li>“ ... the public is able to take not only a more active part in seeking information, but also in providing information to each other...” </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>- Palen and Liu, 2007 </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul>
    7. 7. What is Social Media? <ul><li>Viral – people will spread information to their networks: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>On March 3, the Office of Public Affairs sent a tweet to 370 followers about a missing/endangered child. Some of our followers and then their followers retweeted (RT) the message. In total, more than 3,200 people on Twitter were exposed to this important emergency life safety message. </li></ul></ul>
    8. 8. What Is Social Media? <ul><li>First Informers </li></ul><ul><li>Virginia Tech Shooting </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Students confirmed identities of the deceased on Facebook before officials and media. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>California Wildfires </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Government and media started using social media to connect and learn what was happening. </li></ul></ul>
    9. 9. Is Social Media For You? <ul><li>Determine mission – What is the overarching purpose? </li></ul><ul><li>National Response Framework: </li></ul><ul><li>“ The local senior elected or appointed official (the mayor, city manager, or county manager) is responsible for ensuring the public safety and welfare of residents.” </li></ul><ul><li>--ESF 15/PIOs communicate this info. </li></ul>
    10. 10. Is Social Media For You? <ul><li>Choose tools – YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, blogs, wikis, Flickr, etc. –whatever your staffing may allow. </li></ul><ul><li>Twitter, by itself, is not a strategy. </li></ul><ul><li>These social media sites only serve as the tool, not the purpose – the technology is secondary. </li></ul>
    11. 11. Is Social Media For You? <ul><li>Get content to where eyeballs are looking, especially during all four phases of emergency management. </li></ul><ul><li>Build capacity now, not during an emergency. </li></ul><ul><li>Where are the eyeballs?... </li></ul>
    12. 12. Global Fairfax County
    13. 13. Global Fairfax County
    14. 15. Demographics Debunked <ul><li>Fairfax County’s Facebook Fans: </li></ul><ul><li>87% age 25+ 54% age 35+ </li></ul>
    15. 16. Demographics Debunked <ul><li>April 10, 2009 </li></ul>
    16. 17. Social Media Monitoring <ul><li>Instant feedback (“Google Live”), message perception rumor control, respond if needed. </li></ul><ul><li>Many ways to monitor i.e. </li></ul>
    17. 18. Social Media Monitoring
    18. 19. What Happens to the Info? <ul><li>When monitoring, where does the info go? How is it synthesized and analyzed during an emergency? </li></ul><ul><li>We’re trying to figure this out ourselves with respect to EOC/NIMS/ICS structures. </li></ul>
    19. 20. Resources <ul><li>Links About Emergency Management/Communications/Social Media (see related document) </li></ul>
    20. 21. Closing Thought <ul><li>“ We can no longer afford to work at the speed of government. We must remain relevant to the people we serve.” </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>-- Los Angeles Fire Department PIO about using Twitter (and other social media tools) </li></ul></ul></ul>