SOCIAL MEDIAConsiderations for public safety andemergency management
Social Media | Considerations for public safety and emergency managementSocial media offers                               ...
Relevance of social media                                            Recent examples of recommendations made after        ...
Social Media | Considerations for public safety and emergency managementBenefits of social media                          ...
Social media when considered across day to day and incidentmanagement can be utilised in a myriad of ways:               P...
Social Media | Considerations for public safety and emergency managementManaging social media                             ...
Bibliography1.	 http://digitaljournal.com/article/3176972.	 http://www.usatoday.com/tech/news/story/2012-08-04/government-...
www.intergen.co.nz/signal© Copyright 2012 Intergen Limited. All rights reserved. This document is for informational purpos...
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Signal - social media, considerations for public safety and emergency management

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Social media’s significant usage and ongoing growth creates
opportunity for public safety and emergency management.
Information in and around social media can greatly enhance
intelligence and the common operating picture.

The now commonplace use of social media should encourage
public safety and emergency management agencies to get
involved. The level of involvement can be staged with
monitoring usually being the best place to start.

Many social media monitoring tools have been created to help
organisations manage the deluge of information and gain
intelligence. However, not all tools are alike especially when
it comes to features specific to public safety and emergency
management. Organisations should consider their requirements
carefully when investing in social media monitoring.

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Signal - social media, considerations for public safety and emergency management

  1. 1. SOCIAL MEDIAConsiderations for public safety andemergency management
  2. 2. Social Media | Considerations for public safety and emergency managementSocial media offers Social media’s continuing riseopportunities and challenges It’s almost impossible to recite accurate social mediaSocial networks have rapidly been embraced by statistics as they keep growing at phenomenal rates,communities across the globe. Services such as but reported in early August 2012Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr are a core • 20% of all online time is spent on a social media networkpart of millions of peoples’ lives, allowing them to • Every minute over 500,000 tweets are sentshare their experiences, videos and images, and • 250 million photos are updated dailyprovide commentary on the events around them. • One out of every eight people in the world are on FacebookSuch services are also becoming critical vehicles for • Every day 552 million people log into Facebookcommunication, creating both opportunities and • 62 to 64% of all Australasian internet users belong to achallenges for public safety and emergency management. social media site.Due to its widespread use, social media provides instant access Whether personal or civic, social media is now a part of society.to real-time information. Such information can provide and/or For example, most mobile users tend to get their news by socialenhance intelligence, helping to ensure public safety and improve media [1], and city, county, state and federal governmentsemergency situational awareness. Being able to monitor and nationwide are increasingly embracing social media toutilise this information is becoming vitally important for disseminate information. [2]decision makers as part of their common operating picture. The ever increasing uptake of social media can be demonstratedDespite the increasing importance and relevance of this by its use at major events e.g. Euro 2012 was the biggest twitterinformation, the sheer volume of users and messages can event (previously 2010 World Cup); at the 2012 London Olympicsmake monitoring and managing social media very time and American swimmer Ryan Lochte gained over 500,000 twitterresource intensive. followers in a week, and there were 9.5 million mentions of the Olympics on Twitter during the opening ceremony – more tweetsThis paper looks at the growth of social media, its than for the entire 2008 Beijing Olympics!relationship with public safety and emergency management,and considerations for monitoring social media. Social media is also heavily used around disasters e.g. one minute after the 2011 Virginia earthquake Twitter was hit by 40,000 comments; Twitter was a tool for good and bad around the 2011 London Riots; there was near instant use of social media after the 2012 movie theatre massacre in Aurora, Colorado; around Hurricane Irene there were more than 3,000 tweets per minute and seven of its top ten trending topics were Hurricane related posts. Aiding the rise of social media is ubiquitous technology. Smartphones and tablet devices, in addition to conventional laptops and notebooks, allow people to communicate over cellular and wireless networks. Growing smartphone penetration, now around 50% in most countries, is enabling greater use of social media. By 2014 it is expected that mobile internet usage will surpass internet access from desktop computers. [3]Page 2
  3. 3. Relevance of social media Recent examples of recommendations made after disaster reviews:in public safety and “If you are not doing social media, do it now.emergency management If you wait until its needed, it will be too late”Before, during and after disaster and crisis situations it “It provides access to immediate feedback andis critical to have the right information at the right time. information from the public at scenes”As a result informed decisions and appropriate action Queensland Police Service: Disaster Management and Social Media – a case studycan be taken.The information in and around social media is too valuable toignore. Posting of pictures and videos, and sharing of information “Fire agencies should attach the same value toprovides situational awareness. As a result, social media can community education and warnings as they doprovide real time reporting to emergency managers and the to fire suppression operations.”emergency operations centre. [4] 2009: Victorian Bushfires Royal CommissionSocial media tools, if used properly, provide the opportunity toturn individuals whom the emergency response effort previouslyperceived as liabilities in response into critical assets – every “…agencies should actively pursue the use ofcitizen is a sensor. The ability to crowd-source and leverage both social media for warnings…”affected and unaffected persons as force multipliers in response— “…explore the opportunity for greater use of socialbe it as information providers or aggregators—is what separates media as a credible source of information tonew media from old, and this is where the new value and from the public”is created. 2010/2011: Victorian Flood Warnings and Response ReviewAs social media has put the power in the hands of the public,with anytime, anywhere access, there is risk of unwantedbehaviour and incorrect information. Such actions need tobe corrected via active monitoring and myth busting, whetherthrough social media alone or a variety of channels.Even when the electrical supply goes down, or there areother infrastructure problems, the decentralised nature oftelecommunications allows communications to still occur.Users of social media, private users or public safety andemergency management, can utilise the cellular andwireless networks to maintain contact.Social media can be used proactively to inform users ofimpending events and reactively to monitor awarenessand impacts. The public now expect to be informed,included and engaged with. Page 3
  4. 4. Social Media | Considerations for public safety and emergency managementBenefits of social media through social media to better understand theSocial media can assist public safety and emergency medium and the message.management as it is: Monitoring focuses on one-way communication• Information rich. On its own, a tweet or a photo may from the public. This mode informs and instructs the have limited value. However, when hundreds or thousands Emergency Manager before any action is taken to of tweets or communications are looked at, patterns deploy or use social media tactically or strategically. of behaviour. In addition to the raw content of these This approach allows emergency managers to focus interactions, additional information – such as the location on the means by which the public gathers, shares and from which the post was made – is also captured, creating richer information. responds to information about emergencies. It does not necessarily involve the delivery of a service to• Timely. Services such as Twitter allow people to communicate secure a particular outcome. Nevertheless, effective information, and receive it, in real-time. Never before has social media monitoring can inform response decisions there been a service which allows such widespread and and influence plans for its strategic use. timely information.• One-to-one or one-to-many. Social media users can have • Mitigate. Activities that actually eliminate or reduce direct conversations or they can ‘broadcast’ to their followers the probability of a disaster (example, identify “this and fans. Additionally social media can be used as an official river looks like it could flood”, and create resilience message amplifier. planning as part of this identified risk).• Able to be monitored. While many people don’t always realise • Prepare. In the preparedness phase, emergency it, this information is typically published on public networks management and public safety, governments, multi and can be accessed, read by anyone and acted upon. agencies, and emergency management practitioners• Able to be shared. Information of note can be shared develop plans to save lives and minimise damage among public safety and emergency management staff (for example, preparing New Zealand for NZ for consideration and action. ShakeOut; monitor the reach of the message, and• Able to be archived. Robust archiving is critical to assist crystallise official responses to the audiences investigations, reviews and audits. tone, and sentiment.) Preparedness measures also strive to enhance disaster response operations• Familiar. It is the medium in which many sections of society (for example, by identifying the mobilization of communicate everyday with their friends and family, and may therefore be the platform they will go to first in an emergency. spontaneous volunteering efforts). 2. Respond. Immediately following a disaster or emergency the response phase is designed to provide Emergency Management Phases emergency assistance for victims (example, monitoring Emergency management activations can be grouped into search and rescue efforts, identify emergency shelter, three core phases that are related by time/function to medical care, and provision of food and water). During disasters and emergencies. Social media can be invaluable a response phase it is also vital to reduce the probability in all three phases. of secondary damage (example, identify behavioural 1. Plan. The ability to listen, monitor, analyse, document trends and areas prone to looting and public order and archive information pertaining to a disaster or situations) and to expedite recovery operations (for emergency and plan for the potential consequences example, identify damage and archive real time image or impacts on life, and the protection of property. and video for assessment). This includes assessing hazards, risks, mitigation, 3. Recover. Activities necessary to return to business preparedness, response, and recovery needs. As part as usual including: monitoring what do people have, of the plan phase emergency management will: what do people need? (example, identifying: clean-up • Monitor. In the monitoring stage, emergency operations, offers of temporary housing, and access to managers watch and listen to messages streaming food and water).Page 4
  5. 5. Social media when considered across day to day and incidentmanagement can be utilised in a myriad of ways: Public Safety Emergency Management Business Continuity Management Day to Day/ • Respond to criminal activity • Identify and correct misinformation • Horizon scan within the PR team and BAU • Identify locations of criminal activity • Monitor building of preparedness where required, flag or escalate issues • Anticipate criminal activity among the community to the relevant risk department. • Gather photographic or • Horizon scan for reported events • Facilitate awareness across the documentary evidence and hazards organisation (particularly for the • Improve community relationships human resources, public relations • Understand/prove criminal networks and risk management teams) • Identify persons of interest • Monitor online discussion related to historical emergency event, exercise • Help review performance • Build criminal profile – hobbies, or organisation following an incident travel dates, places visited • Increase online credibility. • Monitor risks to infrastructure, • Locate missing persons business processes and personnel. • Solicit/provide channel for information on criminal activity • Support other media initiatives – Police documentaries, ‘Crimestoppers’ • Act upon information – search warrants etc • Identify and correct misinformation • Support resourcing decisions • Collect community engagement – inform, question, what did the Police do well, and what did not go so well, recruit – take pulse • Identify influencers using social media who actively support and RT Police news • Increase online credibility. Public Safety and Emergency Management Business Continuity Management Incident/ • Rapidly identify nature, location of event from community reports • Enable HR teams to provide a better Event • Identify people and/or communities in need level of care to employees in the midst • Increase understanding of impact of response of an incident • Identify gaps in response • Understand where, and in what state of health, are your stakeholders • Integrate information into EOC to improve response • Respond quickly to change employee • Identify improvements to the response awareness/opinion • Identify and correct misinformation – myth busting • Enable communications monitoring • Improve situational awareness of team members who are • Understand how opinion of your organisation is forming geographically dispersed • Answer queries raised on social media sites • Recognise and react event impacts • Increase the amount and speed of information gathered on partners, supply chains, clients during the response phase and community • Increase the speed at which the community is informed • Use information to set up a temporary • Improve monitoring of public needs remote workforce • Improve situational awareness for personnel on the ground in • Monitor the changing sentiment crisis zones who may have no other communication available of users commenting online about • Gather information during the recovery phase. an incident to help inform crisis communication decision making. Page 5
  6. 6. Social Media | Considerations for public safety and emergency managementManaging social media Social media monitoring requirementsin public safety and Any organisation wanting to use a social media monitoringemergency management tool for the purposes of public safety and emergency management needs to carefully consider its requirements.A simple plan for the use of social media along The following should be regarded as fundamental for anywith constant use will make its integration into solution in this area:the public information area and the emergency • Track geolocation. Understanding locationoperations centre seamless. of message can add invaluable intelligence. • Mapping. Visual reference of activity canGuidance regarding use of social media in public safety and add perspective to the common operating picture.emergency management can be found in many places including‘Social media in an emergency: A best practice guide.’ from • Real-time monitoring. Time is often a critical element.Wellington Region CDEM Group Plan. [5] • Multi-user support. Limitations on user numbers can cost lives.Regardless of the degree of involvement with social media therecan be significant benefit from just monitoring information. • Universal search. Searching across multiple keywords can increase intelligence.Emergency personnel can manually filter and research each • Data archiving. Referencing back to searchesindividual source of social media information. However, this can be vital for evidence, investigations and reviews.process is labour intensive and delays the ability to make fast,efficient, accurate decisions when time is a critical factor for • Deployment models. Situation dependentoperational effectiveness. This costs an organisation time, deployment on premise or via hosted application.money, and in a worst case scenario, lives. • Proven experience. Choosing a social monitoring tool that has been proven in public safety and emergencyWithout the right tool, monitoring social media can be: management reduces risk for everyone.• Complex. While most services will provide ways to locate and search for information, they all approach this task in a different way. This can create challenges around their use, Conclusion and integration with emergency management information systems. Social media’s significant usage and ongoing growth creates opportunity for public safety and emergency management.• Time consuming. Due to the high volume of information Information in and around social media can greatly enhance being created, and the spikes of activity driven by large intelligence and the common operating picture. events (whether planned or unplanned), it can be time consuming finding, reviewing and acting on social media. The now commonplace use of social media should encourage• Imprecise. Monitoring any service manually can be a public safety and emergency management agencies to get challenge and, due to the complexity and the volume of involved. The level of involvement can be staged with information, can result in incomplete sets of information monitoring usually being the best place to start. being captured, leading to key information or evidence Many social media monitoring tools have been created to help being lost – or, rather, not even being found; this problem organisations manage the deluge of information and gain is compounded when multiple services are involved. intelligence. However, not all tools are alike especially when• Ill-suited. Public safety and emergency management it comes to features specific to public safety and emergency organisations have very specific use, security, storage management. Organisations should consider their requirements and audit requirements. carefully when investing in social media monitoring.Page 6
  7. 7. Bibliography1. http://digitaljournal.com/article/3176972. http://www.usatoday.com/tech/news/story/2012-08-04/government-and-social-media/56759978/13. http://www.digitalbuzzblog.com/2011-mobile-statistics-stats-facts-marketing-infographic/4. Social Media and Virtual Platforms White Paper Centre for Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Response Yale New Haven Health5. Social media in an emergency: A best practice guide. Wellington Region CDEM Group Plan Page 7
  8. 8. www.intergen.co.nz/signal© Copyright 2012 Intergen Limited. All rights reserved. This document is for informational purposes only.No warranties, express or implied, are made in this document. Information may change without notice.The names of companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

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