Social media networks can act as critical listening posts for emergency response agencies. Joining such networks and monitoring them for key words during key events -- and providing timely information through social networks -- can help prevent a crisis.
Identifying reliable social network sources and influencers can help an agency spot relevant information and communicate preparedness messaging quickly and well beyond an agency's traditional communication network.
Social network participation requires a commitment of resources, from time, talent, and training. An understanding by elected and appointed leaders of the role social media can play in a crisis is central to achieving a commitment of resources to effectively participate in such networks and to provide the authority necessary to communicate critical information.
The stark comparison offered by Officer Humphrey between two major events, one that ended in tradegy and the other that was completed safely, should not be missed by public safety officials: the vigorous use of social network monitoring and messaging in one prevented panic when public safety officials noted social networking messaging suggesting the beginning of panic, with public officials then inserting their own sustained messaging through social networks. As modes of communication change in fundamental ways, so must the manner in which emergency agencies communicate.
For more on Crisis Social Media, please follow:
LAFD - Social Media and Emergency - Twitter
10 Reasons Social Media Is Important in a Real Crisis