Post by: Kim Stephens
I was the guest on the Emergency Management Forum this week and one of the questions posed to the participants was whether there is a need for more training on social media for emergency managers. A tally of the online replies indicated that almost everyone indicated yes.
During the presentation, I mentioned that a good example of effective use of new media is the Center for Social Media website, done by the International Association of Chiefs of Police. It is similar to the site of the Center for Disease Control, which also offers guidelines and best practices; but the IACP resource seems to have more information relevant to local emergency management agencies. Researchers might find the Directory tab interesting. Law enforcement agencies engaged in social media are listed and “the directory contains basic agency demographics, contact information, and links to the agency’s social media sites. You can search the directory by agency name, state, agency type, agency size, and/or platform.” Each of the platforms is hyperlinked, which makes viewing their activities quite easy. [picapp align=”right” wrap=”true” link=”term=firefighter&iid=9949793″ src=”http://view.picapp.com/pictures.photo/image/9949793/central-moscow-fire/central-moscow-fire.jpg?size=500&imageId=9949793″ width=”234″ height=”219″ /]The site offers some very basic overview fact sheets, such as “What is Twitter?” Additionally, they have some in-depth Concepts and Issues Papers that accompany their model policies. One issue paper, for example, includes a discussion on “The First Amendment and the Public Employee“.
Another interesting source for information is the Department of Homeland Security’s new “First Responder Communities of Practice“. The site isn’t specifically focused only on social media, but does have the opportunity for responders to share information. From their about page:
“FirstResponder Communities of Practice is a network of vetted, active and retired first responders, emergency response professionals and Federal, State, local, or Tribal Homeland Security officials sponsored by the U. S. Department of Homeland Security… Registered members of this professional network share information, ideas, lessons learned and best practices, enabling them to more efficiently and effectively prepare for all hazards. Members use tools such as wikis, blogs and RSS feeds to collaborate online on the creation and management of critical planning, training, and other initiatives. Through information sharing and active participation in community workspaces, members are able to leverage each other’s experiences to meet mission objectives. FirstResponder Communities of Practice not only offers information repositories and content creation tools, but also provides networking capabilities for practitioners across the country to connect with one another in a trusted, online environment.”
For more resources, see our own bibliography which has an extensive list of resources including samples of local agency social media policies.
A few other sources worth noting:
- Social Media Guide for Local Governments: Developed by Center for Public Policy and Administration, University of Utah. (powerpoint presentation)
- American Red Cross’s Social Media Handbook, a powerpoint presentation meant for use by their chapters but useful for anyone new to social media.
- Social Media for Responders by “oneforty“. Hal Grieb, an emergency manager from Plano, Texas, has compiled a list of tools he uses to monitor social media for trends and expanding incidents in his area.
- Social Media Policy Resource Guide for Higher Ed. Provides links to example social media policies from a select group of Universities as well as some links to other helpful information.
I’m sure other great sources will become available as more and more people try to understand how to operate in this medium. Keep checking back with our bibliography, we try to keep it current. Of course, please let us know if we missed a great source.