Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Do I really NEED to use social media? #VOST

At the recent Oklahoma Emergency Management Conference breakout session on Social Media, that burning question was asked.

The short answer given was "No".  No one HAS to use social media.  Nevertheless 69% of folks surveyed said they expected someone to be there to answer.

Having a plan for using social media use is more important that the tools that support the plan.  Decide before you make a Facebook, LinkedIN, Twitter, Google+ account what the account mission will be.

As was pointed out in the conference, social media has three uses:

1.  Team Building
2.  Intelligence Gathering
3.  Information distribution

One of the presenters reminded students of the Incident Command System ICS-300 training.  Where does Social Media fit into ICS?

First place it can fit is in Public Information Officer land.  It's media.  It requires monitoring.  Therefore, Twitter, Facebook, etc.  would be another stream next to CNN, FOX, local Radio, Television, and newspaper.

The second place it could fit is in the Operations Section in intelligence.  Law Enforcement want their intelligence folks in operations to cut down the delay.  After all, the Occupy Wall Street folks used social media.  Would it not be proper to monitor their communications?

The third place to put Social Media would be in the Planning Section, again as an intelligence unit.  This is the "traditional" disaster place for it.

Now that one decides to use social media.  One decision point now is "how to do it".

If a "roll your own" approach is needed, the folks at Social Media for Emergency Management can help.  There one will find a lot of mentoring help, lessons applied, and new strategies being developed.

Still don't have time?  Then there's the Virtual Emergency Support Team concept.  There one will find teams ready to help with specific missons, ex. wildfire, ice storms, tornados, hurricanes, etc.

Either way, are you on the road to using Social Media?

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