Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The recent fire and blackout in Boston gave rise to the use of Social Media in Emergency Management.

While surely local media was aware of the event, little mention was made on the "National" media.  After all, it was a localized event.

Yet, Twitter was able to shine ... again ... as government users gave information to the Citizens so they could make the right decision at the right time.

For example, @AlertBoston is the Twitter Account for Boston Office of Emergency Management.  Through the event and early in the event, this account was giving information to the residents and other interested parties, along with @BostonFire and @Boston_Police scored major points by adding to the information coming from #BackBay, #BostonFire, and #BostonBlackout hashtags.

While monitoring these accounts, one would have little questions left about what happened, what's going on because it happened, and even some tips for the morning commute.

One individual, @ShaneAdamski, tweeted "Boston peeps: follow @BostonFire @BOSTON_EMS @AlertBoston for updates on the fire & power outage. Nice job team."

At the @GetMeOutNews account, there was an example of a volunteer curating and producing the information a resident might need during and after the event.  This is an example of how a volunteer could be used in a Virtual Operations Support Team to supplement your department's effort.  At one point, there was a blog about the event connected to the account showing a summary of what was happening.

There were issues with this however.  Many of the tweets during the event, especially from Government sources, did not include the popular hastags.  This would cause people who were only monitoring one hashtag to miss that message, possibly.

The other issue was that many tweets, especially from media, had links.  During a disaster, links should be minimized.  Not every phone is a smart phone with internet activity.

Transformer fire plunges Boston into darkness -

How are you using social media in your plan?  Do you have a Virtual Operations Support Team to help?

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