Using social media for crisis comms


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Presentation on using social media for crisis communications to the Warning and Informing working group of the Surrey Resilience Forum on 7 November 11. Part of the Future Surrey programme

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  • Hello. Im dom. and im here from futuregov and we are working with Surrey County Council to design and deliver FutureSurrey:\n
  • This presentation is part of our 2nd tier support. Surrey is already thinking about social media can be used in adverse conditions - this presentation and the work FutureGov is doing with Surrey agencies has been designed to help you amplify the work you’re already doing and think about ways that you can shape your future strategy and actions. \n
  • Our two core projects are casserole which uses food as a social object to help address social isolation. And help out - a civic action web based app - which helps people lend a hand in the place where they live. \n
  • This presentation provides a quick overview of how some local authorities and national agencies are using social media in adverse events - flood, fire, snow...major disruptive events. One of these (flood) is a major risk in Surrey. But snow is also very high profile and has in the past couple of years had a high impact on residents, businesses and public services.\n
  • Traditional models of crisis communication have operated through a few major nodes of comms. The responding agency and mainstream broadcast media (e.g. local radio). Disperse communications may have been through phone, i.e. people phoning incidents in and things like the Environment Agency floodline.\n
  • But now we’re living a new world where incidents like the crash landing in the Hudson are reported first through social media.\n
  • Or adverse events like this summer’s looting are actually propagated through social media and private messaging networks. \n
  • But at the same time, people are using social media to aid in the recovery - like here in post-looting cleanups in Battersea.\n
  • Social media in crisis comms begins with preparedness. The Federal Emergency Management Agency uses a variety of social media in its comms toolkit to help people prepare (and recover). Agencies in the UK - e.g. Flood Group UK (Environment Agency) are just starting. But an important issue to consider in preparation is authority and authenticity. It’s easy to set up accounts that LOOK LIKE official agencies - so make sure you’re already part of the conversation - and use tools like Twitter’s verified accounts to show you’re the real you. (Surrey Police have already done this!) The Cabinet Office is helping local agencies to do this. \n
  • Local authorities, too, can help with emergency preparedness. This is an interactive site run by San Francisco but which covers a much larger area in California in partnership with other local authorities. This is, of course, an area that has a lot of disasters. Fire, flash flood, mudslide, fire and earthquake (with tsunamis in coastal areas!) They have a lot to prepare for! \n
  • Queensland have famously used social media well in the catastrophic floods last year. There are case studies available which show how they resourced and set up their accounts and how they used Facebook and Twitter to receive reports from local residents and dispatch people where emergency services couldn’t reach in time. Social media saved lives in Queensland. What’s really cool is that Queensland Police have capitalised on their new audience. They continue to use their Facebook page really well - including sharing stories which are nothing to do with disaster. The black and white photos are related to a story of sea mine recovery and disposal in the late 60s. A nice human interest story which helps to keep people clicking on their content, which keeps them prominent in people’s Facebook activity streams. This means that people are more likely to see the warning posted above last week.\n\nLink to a pdf case study on Queensland flooding and social media\n\n\n
  • Last week there was a grass fire in Napa County, California. A state wide fire alert account on Twitter shared information. This was retweeted and thus amplified by a number of others. One of them was winecountrydog. This is a twitter account written from a DOG’s perspective. This might seem silly, but it has 6K followers. Winecountrydog also shared information that it (or its human companion) had which wasn’t on Twitter. Napa County Sheriff’s department has no twitter account, but important local information was shared to a fairly wide audience by a concerned citizen (or dogizen).\n\n\n
  • Many councils in the UK have also used social media to alert people about road and school closures during snow or to keep people informed about winter conditions and update them about gritting routes. Some councils have even used Twitter to motivate 4x4 owners to help out local people. Like Queensland police, Coventry has capitalised on its new followers in Facebook and now has the most followers of any UK council. They’ve maintained and grown this audience by providing regular relevant and especially fun content and being more Coventry focused than Coventry Council focused. (Facebook runs on fun). This helps them reach more people when they need to. \n
  • Social media really comes into its own in times of recovery. Snowmageddon - which is basically crowdsourcing and support using an open source plaform called Ushahidi that also uses SMS effectively. Hands On Nashville is a volunteer clearing house which has operated in Middle Tennessee for around 20 years. They began using social media some time ago, but really used it effectively after the Nashville floods of 2010 in which whole neighbourhoods were practically write-offs and over a billion dollars in damage as well as loss of life. Skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled volunteers were directed to casual volunteering opportunities. I am from this area and witnessed friends directing other friends to follow Hands On Nashville to find ways to help out. And many of my Facebook friends (as well as a lot of other people!) amplified messages about areas and projects that needed a hand. \n
  • Surrey is already doing some great work on planning and coordination. But some easy things can be done in terms of coordinating social media accounts, amplifying each others’ messages, ensuring that people know what accounts to follow and promoting hashtags like #surreysnow on Twitter. Remember to let Surrey residents be your eyes and ears for reporting, response and recovery. Throughout any adverse conditions, you can continue to converse with local people online. \n
  • And don’t forget to use social media like people do. People are already assessing information differently based on the social media clout of accounts and whether or not there’s a picture. Use the information that people share with photos on the move and let on the ground practitioners use social media in the same way. \n
  • The new model of crisis communication uses the power of networks and communications throughout the crisis stages - preparation, response and recovery. \n
  • \n
  • Using social media for crisis comms

    1. 1. Surrey Management Presentation | FutureGov | 16. 08. 11
    4. 4. PRE-WEB CRISIS MANAGEMENTIncident Respond Broadcast
    5. 5. THE NEW WORLD
    6. 6. THE NEW WORLD
    7. 7. THE NEW WORLD
    10. 10. RESPONSE Photo credit: Mission accomplished by on Flickr
    11. 11. RESPONSE
    12. 12. RESPONSE Photo credit: Highways Agency and Dan Slee on Flickr
    13. 13. RECOVERY
    14. 14. YOUR STRATEGY • plan • coordinate • listen • converse • act
    16. 16. NEW MODEL CRISIS MANAGEMENT Prepare Engage Broadcast Respond Share