Archives for September 2012

US Government releases social media community engagement guide for emergency preparedness

To coincide with September being National Preparedness Month, the US Government has released a social media guide “Community Engagement Guidance and Best Practices” for first responders.

In support of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) “Whole of Community” approach to emergency management, this guide discusses best practices for the use of social media by public safety agencies and partner organisations for meaningful and successful engagement of community members and stakeholders.

“Whole of Community” is described as including non-governmental organisations like faith-based and non-profit groups, the private sector, academia, individuals, families and communities.

“Social media can provide a means to tap into community and volunteer efforts, saving resources and time by leveraging existing networks, identifying existing resources, encouraging information sharing between the “whole of the community” and official response organisations, and helping to ensure that all information shared is immediate, accurate and up-to-date.” (page 7)

The guide defines and discusses various goals for community engagement, such as “to encourage individual connectivity and promote community resources”, “to promote and encourage efficiency, credibility and transparency” and “to encourage multidirectional sharing of essential information”.

Challenges and considerations covered include “Brand Management and Awareness” and how to address “Oversaturation of information”.

Recommendations and use cases are provided for topics such as:

  • Crowdsourcing for creative problem solving
  • Online collaboration and multi-media information sharing
  • Developing creative and engaging content
  • Relationship building and community partnerships
  • Volunteer networks

This guide builds on earlier social media guides “Social Media Strategy” and “Next Steps Strategy” produced in January by the First Responder Communities of Practice Virtual Social Media Working Group. The Emergency 2.0 Wiki has now added this set of guides to the Emergency Preparation section and the Library joining the following guides sourced from around the globe:

  • “Social Media in an Emergency: A Best Practice Guide” (New Zealand – for which the wiki facilitated an international review)
  • “Project to Advance Crisis and Emergency Communications” (Canada)
  • “Use of social media in crisis communication” (Belgium)

We hope these guides will be utilised internationally to help accelerate the adoption of social media for emergency management and create ‘Emergency 2.0 Ready Communities’. The guide is also available via the FirstResponder.gov site. Please share widely.

Cheers,

Eileen

Eileen Culleton, Founder & CEO (Voluntary role)