Many of us in the #gov20 space are trying to sort through the conundrum of #crisisdata, the result of seemingly endless Facebook posts, tweets, videos, photos and more. There’s great work going on at Crisis Commons and they’ve literally helped people and save lives. For those of us in emergency operations centers and joint information centers, though, we have structures such as NIMS and ICS to follow to share information.
What hasn’t been necessarily clear is what to do with all this #crisisdata. Adam Crowe documented some of these challenges in his great journal article, “The Elephant in the JIC,” which has been stewing in my head for some time. It’s been stewing in my head ever since I developed some guest lectures for grad students at George Washington University entitled “First Informers in a Facebook World.” We the government are not the first informers in today’s connected society, a real sea change for the emergency management field/structure.
As many federal, state and local governments expand social media presences, it also (obviously) means more people are connected through these sites. Clark Shirky often talks about the radical transformative nature of social media as not only does the government or organization engage with the public, but the public engages itself, corrects each other, questions each other and more.
So what do you do with this information during a crisis? We’ve seen dozens of examples from Virginia Tech to Haiti to hurricanes. What will you do when a disaster strikes close to your home? How do you sort rumor from fact? How do you look for trends? How do you, in my opinion, not just focus on social media feedback, but also integrate data from other channels such as phone lines and E-mails?
If you’re interested in talking about this on Twitter, join us on Fridays at 12:30 p.m. (ET) for #SMEMchat. Also, follow #SMEM on Twitter for links, observations and more about the intersection of social media and emergency management.