We're close to the number 1 tech ! In reality, the technology that sits in the #2 spot is as important as any other in #smem ... perhaps more important than most.
Key in social media engagement ... and growing more important by the day for crisis and emergency managers, is the ability to listen.
That's what makes social media monitoring (or listening) platforms so essential to any #smem effort.
Whether agencies/organizations go for the paid tools or the free services, the goals should be the same in a crisis/incident. There are five reasons you monitor social media in an emergency:
- validate how your emergency info/messaging is being received and acted upon
- isolate calls for assistance and route them through appropriate channels (that means 9-1-1 in many cases)
- detect false rumours that could put public safety/your response into jeopardy
- identify threats to your reputation that might impede your ability to respond
- enhance your situational awareness.
My colleagues Gerald Baron, Bill Boyd and I are in the process of running a series of webinars on social media monitoring to help answer some of these questions.
Tools are all about comfort and finding a specific platform that fits your objectives and is easy to use. My own preferences turn to Tweetdeck and Hootsuite. As a VOSTie ... I also liked Tweetgrid ... but that's gone ... however we adapted.
So what are the keys?
- define what you'll be monitoring for in a crisis
- find out what kind of search strings you'll be putting together
- learn how to find and then monitor for keywords/hashtags that are being used in association with the incident
- learn how to locate tweets coming from a particular area (geo-fenced searches ... some good info here on that ...)
- learn how you'll share monitoring duties and collaborate online
- and, very importantly, learn how you'll tun the social data you get into operational intel that will support effective decision making.
Truth is, organizations that listen ... respond better. Social media monitoring is now an imperative.
Fortunately, you don't have to re-invent the wheel. Lots of people can now share valuable lessons learned from recent experiences. Heck, if you're an emergency management organization, volunteers can even do some of the work for you!
The series so far:
#2: the social media monitoring platform (January 3)
#3: the IPhone/IPad (and Android too ! ) (January 2)
#4: GPS (December 30)
#5: the crisis mapping platform (Dec. 27)
#6: Skype and Google Hangout (Dec. 17)
#7: Facebook (Dec. 12)
#8: SMS (Dec. 8)
#9: the mobile app (Dec. 5)
#10: Youtube (Dec. 3)
Series introduction (Nov. 29)
Jim Garrow's blog
Kim Stephen's blog