SMEM Camp Background
SMEM Camp @ NEMA
Thursday, March 24, 2011
Alexandria Mark Center, Alexandria, Virginia
9AM - 4PM
The Social Media in Emergency Management Initiative “SMEM” is an informal network of emergency management practitioners who seek to explore best practices and bridge social media in emergency management. SMEM seeks to build a common understanding and “experience exchange” to support the use and inclusion of social media, public data and technology innovation to support mission objectives of emergency management to prepare for, respond to, recover from and mitigate against disaster.
On March 24, 2010, the National Emergency Management Association in collaboration with SMEM Initiative will host a joint day of learning at the NEMA Mid-Year Conference. SMEM volunteers will lead a day of open discussions to share best practices between practitioners as well as subject matter experts from academia and the private sector.
This event will be free and open to the public and traditional NEMA attendees. Several sessions will be webstreamed and online satellite participation will be encouraged both during the planning and at the event. SMEM Initiative volunteers will be guiding the event’s activities.
This event will provide the opportunity for emergency managers to share best practices and approaches to the use of social media. The learning session will include discussions on the following: Partner involvement (state/local/federal) through case study presentations (use of social media during emergencies and lessons learned, identification of gaps, requirements not fulfilled)
- “How-To” sessions on common social technologies such as Twitter and Facebook.
- Discussion of innovative technology and its applications in emergency response (i.e. Ushahidi mapping platform)
- Panel sessions with state/local/federal practitioners to identify needs from the emergency management community. Questions such as “What do emergency managers need to be successful in leveraging social media? Is there a mandate? How does open government policy frame the engagement? Does the FEMA grant process allow for these kinds of activities?
- “Now what?” informal conversation to explore the current landscape and use of social media (“What is already happening”) and develop engagement strategies for how new adopters can link in to current operations with the emphasis on breaking down of information silos rather than creating new “shiny toys.”
- Strategic sessions such as how to approach first responders who have little understanding or interest in the use of technology to connect with citizens.
- Explore how social media can leverage community resources to backfill emergency response efforts; using volunteer networks, crowdsourcing and improve community engagement, etc.
- Expectation setting between response agencies and the public. How can we meet in the middle?
The NEMA/SMEM learning sessions will be conducted in an open format. To prepare for the event, topic areas will be developed from an open call for break out session suggestions and main topic areas. After introductions in the morning, participants will be able to submit breakout session topics for discussion. These topics will be organized and posted to create the schedule of the day. Those persons with similar session ideas will create a joint session allowing for all those interested in leading topic discussions to do so. Each break out session discussion will be led by those who submitted the session topic. Audience participation is encouraged. Most break out discussions are group information exchanges. Each break out discussion will have a researcher who will “live blog” discussion topics (unless told not to do so) and will incorporate Twitter and Skype questions.
There is also an opportunity to have someone who is not present lead a discussion breakout via Skype. This person will need to team with a participant or reach out to the SMEM to coordinate beforehand. We encourage virtual participation.
The NEMA/SMEM will be documented by researchers from CrisisCommons. This team will capture learnings from the event and assist the SMEM Initiative with developing a whitepaper of findings and recommendations for future engagement and training opportunities. This paper will also request an open call for further contribution by event participants and practitioners who could not travel to the event. This white paper will document lessons learned, challenges and opportunities regarding the use of social media and technology in emergency management. The whitepaper will be delivered to the SMEM participants for input and a follow-up conference call to create a series of recommendations to enhance capability and capacity.
Topic Ideas from SMEM Participants (a sampling for the above)
- Partner involvement (state/local/federal) through case study presentations (use of social media during emergencies and lessons learned, identification of gaps, requirements not fulfilled)
- Have the case studies presented from other jurisdictions using the web based solutions we are saying work. If Salt Lake City is doing great thing, but not there, have them skype in or use ustream, or justin.tv to show the benefit real time.
- Training standards and educational materials for beginners
- Discussion on goals and objectives, why should you use social media? Developing a best fit approach.
- Ensure its web broadcast and allow questions from other social media outlets. This shows of we can engage and also how we can monitor social media
- Innovative technology and its applications in emergency response (Ushahidi, data, etc.)
- Get the people actually behind it to talk about it, if they cannot attend, once again show the power of the tools with skype
- Privacy, security, and liability
- Panel (with state/local/federal players) - identification of needs from the emergency management community (what do they need to be successful in leveraging social media...a mandate? A revision of the open gov directive? Further guidance and a framework? Funding? Etc.)
- This should be a "Now what" conversation. Emphasis should be place again on what is currently going on and how new adopters can link in to current operations rather than reinvent the wheel! Social media should be breaking down cylinders of excellence not creating shiny new ones.
- Truly discuss how to get the 30 year (counting the days to retire) fire chief involved in order to help their community.
- Citizen engagement: how to leverage community resources to backfill emergency response efforts; using volunteer networks, crowdsourcing, community engagement, etc.
- How do you balance their expectations and abilities with the realities of government? How can we meet in the middle but still be progressing?
- Ensure there is wireless internet and plenty of plugs to encourage people present to log on while everything is going on.
- Encourage virtual participation while physically present to showcase the ease of use.
- Breakouts and long breaks with activities between to allow those in attendance and online to engage and help themselves help each other.
- Example: Breakout for 10 minutes see if you can have 3 questions answered on twitter. If you need help we will be walking around, or use your neighbor
Another google yourself and find something you didn't know is on line; or a family member
Potential Case Studies: Answering the “Why Social Media is Important” question. Examples could include:
- VA Tech (use of social networking to spawn victim lists)
- North Dakota (crowdsourcing floodfights with volunteer)
- PDX Boom (crowdsourcing map development)
- Dave Chappelle’s 1 a.m. concert in Portland (flashmobs & twitter)
- Boulder Fire
- Natural Gas Pipeline Explosion in California
Potential Speaker Subject Matter Expert Panels:
- HR (policy development)
- Legal (archiving & legal issues)
- IT Issues (infrastructure, load concerns & commercial vs indiv licenses)
Exploration of Basic Social Media Tools (would likely do a panel of experts here & a variety of “commoncraft” videos to assist with mixing up very basic explanations for non-users)
Methods of Engagement
- Tools like Google Alerts, TweetGrid, Trendsmap & Content Curation
- Desktop Monitoring like Tweetdeck, Hootsuite
- One-Way Engagement
- One-way posting
- Clarifying methods of return communication if not on social media
- Active 2-way Engagement (elicit audience response & crowdsourcing)
- Building a local audience
- Preparedness events / Games
- Exercises & incident-response issues
Incorporating Social Media into your EOC
- PIO Section / Getting the Message Out
- Planning Section / Situational Awareness & Mapping
Web 2.0 Tools to Make Collaboration Easier
- RSS Feeds