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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 involving extreme weather events.

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State DOTs Using Social Media During Extreme Weather Events

  1. 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. 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. 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. 4. Social media toolsWhat’s so social about today’s media?• Facebook• Twitter• YouTubeIt’s all about the conversation!
  5. 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. 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. 7. Social Media Tool UsageMostusedsocialmediatools
  8. 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. 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. 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. 11. Duringan eventRemember tofeed the newsoutlets.But alsoremember powerof social media togo around them
  12. 12. Duringan eventTake people there.It’s too dangerousfor them, but yourcrews are in thefield.What’s the story?
  13. 13. Take them to the scene
  14. 14. After an event• Close the loop.• Chronicle theaftermath. Yourfolks werethere.
  15. 15. NY State DOT trucks ready for action
  16. 16. West Virginia maintenance crews clearingdebris
  17. 17. Hurricane Sandy aftermath in Rhode Island
  18. 18. North Carolina highway post-Sandy
  19. 19. Sandy delivered blow to West Virginia, too
  20. 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

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