An Online Social Network for Emergency Management


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This concerns research conducted on students in the first phase of a study on Online Social Networks and if they can support emergency management.

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An Online Social Network for Emergency Management

  1. 1. An Online Social Network for Emergency Management Connie White, Linda Plotnick, Jane Kushma, Roxanne Hiltz and Murray Turoff
  2. 2. One Place for the Emergency Domain to Interact
  3. 3. <ul><li>We propose to investigate whether the social network paradigm can be used to enable individuals and organizations to collaborate in mutually beneficial ways, in all stages of emergency management: mitigation, preparation, response and recovery. </li></ul>
  4. 4. For our purposes, we would characterize a social network as <ul><li>Links from and to people with other people, groups or information objects. </li></ul><ul><li>Such objects might be messages, photos, videos, wall postings, notifications, current activities, events, widgets, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Such hyper-links are either at one extreme created by intelligent agents or at the other extreme by the people themselves. </li></ul>
  5. 5. <ul><li>“ A social network that would allow the flexibility to be involved in both preparing for and responding to emergencies will need sufficient intelligence to allow the dynamic linkages of individuals to the circumstances that they are involved with or should be involved with.” </li></ul>
  6. 6. Research Questions <ul><li>1. Given a tool that allows for ascertaining group skills and availability, would emergency groups use such a tool to dynamically form a social network for collaboration in a new situation? People as resources or the conveyers of resources are not explicit in the current social network systems. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Research Questions <ul><li>2. Would emergency groups also use such a tool on a regular basis so as to reach out and build a larger network or build a specialized network of experts for emergency planning and response (Turoff, Chumer, Van de Walle, Yao, 2004)? </li></ul>
  8. 8. Research Questions <ul><li>3. Are there impediments to emergency groups using such tools such as administrative policies or fear of raiding of human resources by other groups? There is organizational resistance to speaking publicly about problems lest the organization be viewed negatively in the public eye. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Research Questions <ul><li>4. How beneficial would a social network be in a local geographical area and how do we integrate geographical information system (GIS) type information both for planning and dynamic response (Baumgart, Bass, Philips, and Kloesel, 2007)? </li></ul>
  10. 10. Research Questions <ul><li>5. How do we improve time urgent situations and allow dynamic integration of small user groups with the on going problems they should be aware of with out creating more information overload or stress for those involved (White, Turoff, and Van de Walle, 2007)? </li></ul>
  11. 11. Emergency Management Student Survey <ul><li>International Student Body Surveyed </li></ul><ul><li>N = 81 </li></ul><ul><li>63% Male, 37% Female </li></ul><ul><li>80% between ages 18 – 35 </li></ul><ul><li>65% IAEM or CERT </li></ul>
  12. 12. Rank Order of Technology Most Used Presently by Emergency Management Students <ul><li>Email </li></ul><ul><li>Search Engine </li></ul><ul><li>Social Network </li></ul><ul><li>Wikis (knowledge exchange center) </li></ul><ul><li>Blogs </li></ul><ul><li>Skype, Voice Over Internet Protocol </li></ul>
  13. 13. Rank Order of Present Personal Use of Online Social Networks by Emergency Management Students <ul><li>Social Contacts </li></ul><ul><li>Fun </li></ul><ul><li>Work </li></ul><ul><li>Hobbies </li></ul><ul><li>Relationships </li></ul>
  14. 14. Rank Order of What Emergency Management Students think Social Networks would be good for: <ul><li>Sharing Information </li></ul><ul><li>Communication with Others </li></ul><ul><li>Networking </li></ul><ul><li>Share documents, files and other digital resources for all. </li></ul><ul><li>(tie) Uploading Videos and Locating Experts </li></ul>
  15. 15. Present Uses of Communications in an Online Social Network for Emergency Management <ul><li>Mass Communication for Large Groups </li></ul><ul><li>Fast Simultaneous Distribution </li></ul><ul><li>Selective List or Mass Email, Notifications, Post on Wall, Status Message </li></ul><ul><li>Ease of Use – transition Global </li></ul><ul><li>Cheap, low setup and overhead </li></ul><ul><li>Peer to Peer Feedback </li></ul>
  16. 16. Information Advantages on an Online Social Network for Emergency Management <ul><li>Share Information </li></ul><ul><li>Distribute/Contribute </li></ul><ul><li>Lessons Learned </li></ul><ul><li>Best Practices </li></ul><ul><li>Build Digital Resource Repository </li></ul><ul><li>More Diverse due to Global membership </li></ul>
  17. 17. Networking Advantages in Online Social Network for Emergency Management <ul><li>Build New Relationships </li></ul><ul><li>Maintain Existing Relationships </li></ul><ul><li>Strengthen Existing Relationships </li></ul><ul><li>Easier than managing business cards </li></ul><ul><li>Bridge Gaps </li></ul><ul><li>Posting Jobs – LinkedIn functions </li></ul>
  18. 18. Visuals Potential <ul><li>Another strong area of consensus amongst the subjects was that having the ability to upload pictures and video would be a great asset. Not only would this provide information to the trained eye, but also could be utilized later in lessons learned . </li></ul>
  19. 19. Creative Ways of Using an Online Social Network for Emergency Management <ul><li>Chat features with Experts </li></ul><ul><li>Inform Media/Press of Updates </li></ul><ul><li>Training Tutorials, Classes, Research </li></ul><ul><li>Trigger Other Technology </li></ul><ul><li>Mentoring New Emergency Managers </li></ul><ul><li>Specialized Network of Experts </li></ul><ul><li>Form Teams </li></ul><ul><li>Emergency Notification Systems </li></ul>
  20. 20. Concerns of Using an Online Social Network for Emergency Management <ul><li>Information Integrity/Corruption/Falsification </li></ul><ul><li>User Identification/Credibility/Authenticity </li></ul><ul><li>Privacy of Members Compromised </li></ul><ul><li>Technology Reliability </li></ul><ul><li>Unprofessional Conduct Online (flaming) </li></ul><ul><li>Security of Information </li></ul><ul><li>Stalkers, Terrorists </li></ul><ul><li>Virus or other digital threats </li></ul>
  21. 21. There are recent studies indicating the level of accuracy is high from online mass collaboration during crisis. Vieweg, et al’s research backs this finding: “For the inductively-derived issue of distributed problem-solving in times of disaster, the research objective is showing that the phenomenon of collective intelligence does, in fact, exist, and can exist in a directed fashion around focused tasks with self—regulated and accurate results.”
  22. 22. Will it Work? <ul><li>Will people use it? </li></ul><ul><li>Will people perceive and use social networks for serious work? </li></ul>
  23. 23. Younger Generation Is More Likely to Use an Online Social Network <ul><li>80% surveyed were under 35 </li></ul><ul><li>85% used Internet all day, every day </li></ul><ul><li>100% knew of online social networks </li></ul><ul><li>94% were members of at least one social network </li></ul><ul><li>40% were Facebook members </li></ul>
  24. 24. <ul><li>The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has acknowledged that they see the potential in the power behind social networks and desire to better understand how they could be used for disastrous events (, 2008). </li></ul>
  25. 25. The End for more information and the paper