An open letter to the #SMEM community… please RT!

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-08-27/nasa-image-of-hurricane-irene-over-us-east-coast/2858292

Congratulations to all who have used #SMEM, this is your first anniversary of using the hashtag!  

Your commitment to saving lives… by leveraging the power of social media… is truly inspiring. 

This year we’ve witnessed (and many of us have experienced first-hand) unprecedented global disasters… from the Australian floods and Cyclone Yasi, to the New Zealand Christchurch earthquake, Japan earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster, US tornados, Hurricane Irene, the Thailand floods, this week’s Turkey earthquake… and too many more to list.

 

And throughout all these disasters –  this year – something very special has happened… the global #SMEM community has rallied as one to help… thousands of tweets, Facebook posts and Youtube videos have been shared and numerous crowdsource maps created and populated to help save lives… and to help people and communities get their lives back on track. 

And after each disaster, the race has been on –  to try to learn from how we responded and regroup for the next one… thousands more tweets have been shared, hundreds of blog posts written and discussed, scores of case studies and reports published and countless seminars, workshops and conferences have been held around the world.

Image courtesy The Emergency 2.0 Australia Project for the Government 2.0 Taskforce Report 2010

The thirst to understand and leverage the power of social media and web 2.0 technology to save lives and to help others to save lives… is unquenching. 

Now imagine… if there was one online site to collate all that knowledge… all those learnings…. all those ‘how to’ tips… and, just as importantly ‘what not to do’…. as we go along… and after each disaster.

Imagine if there was one site where you could see practical examples by agencies… screen shots of tweets, Facebook pages, crowd source maps… that you could refer to when you’re developing your own sites?

A site that listed all the Twitter and Facebook addresses of every agency involved in emergencies (including the NGOs and media) around the globe so there would be no last minute rush to create multiple lists?

Imagine… if we had a ‘Wikipedia’ on how to use social media in emergencies… that was also a ‘live’ resource for key links?

Imagine if this ‘Wikipedia’ could be used by business, schools, government agencies, community agencies, the media… and the general public?

Imagine how resilient our communities would be to disaster?

 Now stop imagining…. because it’s here…. the Emergency 2.0 Wiki is your global resource!

 But to get it from ‘under development’ to ‘live and ready for the public’… your Wiki needs you… your links… your tips… 

Your Wiki… is a voluntary, global initiative… a resource being created by professionals from from all industry sectors, around the world, who want to make a difference to help save lives… people just like you… volunteering their time… such as: 

Patrice Cloutier, Team Lead, Strategic Communications Unit at Ontario Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services, from Ontario, Canada, who also writes the crisis comms commandpost blog

Kirsten Tanner, Emergency Management Officer at Department of Human Services,  VIC, Australia

Kim Stephens, Research Associate at Claire B. Rubin & Associates ((Baltimore, Maryland,USA), who also writes the idisaster2.0 Blog

Paul Trebilcock, Business Continuity Institute (BCI) Forum Leader, QLD Business Continuity Australasian Chapter and Director at JBT Global

Philippe Borremans, Chief Social Media Officer at Van Marcke, Online Public Relations & Social Media Consultant/Trainer at Conversationblog (Brussels, Belgium)

Rae Allen, Lead developer, Local Online at Australian Broadcasting Corporation, (from QLD, Australia)

Daniele Malerba, IT Consultant to the United Nations World Food Programme,  (from Rome, Italy)

And many more, who you will see when you checkout the Wiki, who are doing their bit, but they need your help. 

The Wiki has ‘seeded content’… but it needs more eg: 

 We now have a growing library of case studies and reports, but we need to turn them into practical guidelines that everyone can use…  

And, we are in a race against time…in 4 weeks, on Thursday 8 December… we are officially launching the Emergency 2.0 Wiki to the world! 

We can’t wait…this Summer season for our southern hemisphere neighbours is predicted to be another harsh one of cyclones, floods and bushfires… and the winter season for the northern hemisphere of snowstorms and blizzards needs a resilient, prepared community! 

We are in a race against time to save lives! 

Help us to make this Wiki a valuable resource, for the emergency management community, schools, business, government, media… and for the public. 

Haven’t used a wiki before? Don’t worry, you can’t break anything… if you accidentally delete something it can be ‘rolled back’. 

Don’t know where to start? There’s a report on the learnings from Hurricane Irene, an open doc created by the SMEM community that just needs key points turned into bullet point guidelines, along with some screen shots and links. Patrice Cloutier is leading this effort  in developing the Emergency Response section

Still not keen on editing a Wiki? That’s fine too, you can still help in so many ways, such as tweeting your tips, sending links, posting discussions on the LinkedIn Group. 

It takes a global community to create a global Emergency 2.0 Wiki.

 Please register now, via LinkedIn… to join us and follow us on Twitter @emergency20wiki

Together, the #SMEM community can do it! 

Thank you, 

Eileen 

Eileen Culleton, Emergency 2.0 Wiki Project Leader (Voluntary) 

PS. Together we can create a global resource that will help to save lives…

Brisbane City Council’s social media use during the floods of January 2011

Brisbane City Council Floods House Image

Flood affected house in Brisbane - Brisbane City Council

The flood events in Queensland in January 2011 continue to haunt many individuals throughout the state. With record-breaking flood levels in many areas, the City of Brisbane prepared itself for what some feared may be flooding worse than the infamous 1974 floods which engulfed the city. Brisbane City Council knew that they needed to quickly and efficiently communicate with as many residents as possible, so alongside door-knocking, media releases, radio announcements and more, they turned to social media to help disseminate information quickly and accurately.

The response to Council’s social media use during the flood has been overwhelmingly positive and the Independent Review conducted into the flood earlier this year commended Council’s use of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to help spread urgent information to the community. As Council’s social media officer, it has been extremely satisfying to know that we used social media in the floods in such a widely acclaimed way. More importantly however, it was most satisfying to see the impact it had on individual lives, as well as the wider community. This case study highlights the way that we handled our social media in a crisis and the impact it had on helping to clean up Brisbane after the floods.

The Emergency 2.0 Wiki will add this case study to the to the resources section and ensure that we incorporate the learnings into the development of the guidelines.  We are also keen to crowdsource case studies on how social media was used during the Christchurch Earthquake, the Japan Earthquake, Tsunami and Nuclear Disaster and the recent US Tornados. Please contact us if you can assist.