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Social Media Centers - Right or Wrong for Emergency Managers?
February 01, 2012
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Earlier this week, David Armano posted a very interesting article to his Logic+Emotion Blog about the growing trend for major companies and events to utilize social media centers to measure and control social media activity that might impact them.  Mr. Armano specifically mentions companies like Dell and Gatorade and the events like the 2012 Super Bowl that will all leverage this concept.

As an emergency manager, this process intrigued me as it was very similar to the coordination and management utilized in multi-agency coordination systems like emergency operations centers (EOC) or joint information centers (JIC).  I would wager a guess that an average emergency manager already has some of his/her most significant challenges in the maintenance, upkeep, staffing, and training of EOCs, JICs and the like. So is even a possibility to start looking at centers to manage social media information in a disaster?  Maybe not...

However, there are two realities that must be addressed:

1) Social media continues to grow in its use and complexity and routinely is impacting emergencies and disasters from all sorts of angles including information distribution and intelligence about the event.  So if this is true, then...

2) Social media has to be monitored and leveraged some way.  Is it a special position(s) in the EOC or JIC? Are specialized individuals tasked with this assignment at an incident or in the EOC?

Mr. Armano doesn't provide the specific answer to the above question but does encourage the use of social media to focus on People, Process, and Platforms. These "3 Ps" will help any organization begin to break the complexity of social media into measurable and achievable parts.  Using this type of format and structure could greatly improve the usability and management of social media by emergency managers before, during, and after a disaster.

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