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SelasTürkiye White Paper The Case for Integrating Crisis Response With Social Media by F.Stephenson

SelasTürkiye White Paper The Case for Integrating Crisis Response With Social Media by F.Stephenson

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Published by Ziya Nisanoglu
SelasTürkiye White Paper The Case for Integrating Crisis Response With Social Media by F.Stephenson
SelasTürkiye White Paper The Case for Integrating Crisis Response With Social Media by F.Stephenson

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Published by: Ziya Nisanoglu on Oct 09, 2010
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The Case for Integrating Crisis Response with Social Media
Chapter One: Introduction
 Social media and social technologies have altered communication patterns, particularly in times of disaster. Thepublic has begun to rely on social media to share information during emergencies with family, friends andincreasingly, with government and aid organizations who maintain social networking profiles. This has created anunexpected side effectin which responding authorities and aid organizations are expected to be aware of andrespond to emergency requests for help coming from such sources as Facebook, Twitter, and text messages.Additionally, there is a growing network of independent citizens who want to assist in times of emergency, andthey are using social media tools to organize and deliver aid.The social web is creating a fundamental shift in disaster response that is asking emergency managers, governmentagencies, and aid organizations to mix their time-honored expertise with real-time input from the public. As of today, most of us are not yet ready to collect, respond or react to this incoming social data in a timely manner. Theuse of publicly available data in times or places of crisis raises issues of authenticity, privacy, veracity andownership. Responding to this challenge requires the collective input of government agencies, first responders,technology companies, public safety officials and the general public. Creating a process and system of response forthis data is crucial for one compelling reason: we are seeing more and more headlines in which people have turnedto social media channels as their first choice of communication during a crisis and we, as a response and aidcommunity, must get ahead of this trend to remain effective.Here are just a few examples of how this trend is playing out in the real world.Girls trapped in storm drain use Facebook to call for helpinstead of calling emergency services. This story froma2009 UK newspaper, recounts the story of two Australian girls, aged 10 and 12, who updated their Facebookstatus as a cry for help when they found themselves in a precarious situation. Luckily for them, a schoolmatesawthe status updateand summoned aid.Another example came when an Atlanta city councilman who encountered a woman in trouble on the street in2009; because his cell phone battery was low, he turned to Twitter. Need a paramedic on corner of John WesleyDobbs and Jackson St. Woman on the ground unconscious. Pls ReTweet. Hisactionsare believed to have savedher life.The frequency of stories like this accelerated into a virtual downpour after a devastating earthquake rocked Haitiin January, 2010. A Canadian woman trapped in rubble after the quake, was rescued afterher text message forhelpreached Canadas Foreign Affairs Department and was relayed back to Canadian authorities on the ground.The Canadian Foreign Affairs ministerin his daily briefingstold reporters we know where this woman is, exactly.The challenge of a rescue effort in such a poor country, combined with its geographic challenges, unfolded in themedia in dramatic stories of success and failure. Not all the cries for help from social media channels had happyendings. Regine Madhere, a 27-year-old Haitian woman who was trapped in the rubble of the Port au Princesupermarket in which she worked,sent a text messageto her cousin in France because she believed she heardrescue workers leaving the area. The cousin then sent a tweet to the Red Cross Twitter account asking for help.News organizationsreportedthat multiple rescue workers from several countries worked round-the-clock for daysto free Madhere and others, whose families kept vigil near the site. While a number of people were rescued fromunder the supermarket rubble, Madhere died before she, and many others, could be found.These stories carry a common thread: a person in trouble turns to what they believe is the quickest way to gethelp. In these cases, and many more, they turned to their preferred new media tool.This same social media technology has spawned numerous volunteer efforts in times of emergency, many of whichhave been instrumental in adding vital -- and accurate  information used to positive effect by first responders anddecision makers. Beginning as early as September, 2001, Andy Carvin, senior social strategist at National PublicRadio (NPR), put together a Yahoo Group within hours after the September 11 tragedy called 
 andused volunteers spread throughout the city to make sense of rapidly changing information on threats, roadconditions and personal safety. (Interview, July 22, 2010)Another effort involved a team at Google, who created a solution now called Person Finder in the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake, which was quickly coded, launched and operational. Todays technology offers endlesspossibilities and opportunities to aggregate data never before envisioned by our society.
The purpose of this paper is to examine how social data affects societal expectation of aid and its impact onemergency response, explore current technologies and individuals who have made successful inroads in recentdisasters, develop a plan to address this across the emergency spectrum, and create awareness of the cultural shiftthat is influencing all areas of disaster response today.
Chapter Two: Social Media Has Changed News Gathering During Disaster Response
As mainstream news media have embraced social media tools and technology for news gathering, there is agrowing perception and practice that first responders can and do use the data from Twitter, SMS text messagesand other services for a targeted response in times of crisis.An online survey of 1,058 adults conducted for the American Red Cross found that if they needed help andcouldnt reach 9-1-1, one in five would try to contact responders through a digital means such as email, websitesor social media. If web users knew of someone else who needed help, 44 percent would ask other people in theirsocial network to contact authorities, 35 percent would post a request for help directly on a response agencysFacebook page and 28 percent would send a direct Twitter message to responders.The Red Cross survey found that Web users also have clear expectations about how first responders should beanswering their requests. The survey showed that 69 percent said that emergency responders should bemonitoring social media sites in order to quickly send help  and nearly half believe that response agencies arealready doing that. And the survey respondents expected quick response to an online appeal for help  74 percentexpected help to come less than an hour after their tweet or Facebook post.Journalists and concerned citizens are compounding this expectation with their quick and unencumbered responseto crisis events. For instance, NPRs Carvin took what he learned from the Yahoo Group he created after the 9/11tragedy and expanded on it when a tsunami hit south Asia in 2004. Within hours, he launched a blog, a wiki, andused e-mail lists and the power of a blogging network called Global Voices Onlineto power an informationnetworkthat was largely driven by private citizens around the world.He, and others, have worked passionately since then to leverage technology options for events such asHurricanesKatrinaand Gustav (Personal Interview, July 22, 2010). For instance, by the time Gustav came ashore at Cocodrie,Louisiana in 2008, Carvin had helped to put together aninformation networkthat was powered by more than 500volunteers. They integrated Google maps with weather technology, listed evacuation routes and gave shelterlocations.Emergency management agencies are so balkanized by their jurisdiction. Basically, what we were doing was anend run around these organizations. This data is available, lets put it to use, using free resources. I had no budgetfor this and we managed to put together a whole range of projects, Said Carvin in an interview on July 22, 2010.By 2008, technology was better able to allow for more accurate and faster information gathering, with the unusualside effect that individuals using social media began to scoop mainstream news outlets when disasters occurred.When an earthquake hit China in May, 2008, Robert Scoble, noted tech expert and customer advocate forRackspace Hosting, reported the event on Twitter before the U.S. Geological Survey had recorded it on their website and a full hour before the news hit CNN. How could news from 5,000 miles away travel so quickly? Scoble,who has more than 125,000 followers on Twitter and monitors its stream round-the-clock, was watching postsfrom friends in China and published a Error! Hyperlink reference not valid. about it within hoursLater that year, Twitter was hailed as a reputable source for breaking the news on the terrorist attacks in Mumbai,which took the lives of more than 150.ZDNet authorJennifer Leggio said of the phenomenon: This is wheresocial media grows up. The tech world was awash in news of how social media was evolving in this tragedy.Computerworld aggregated reports from all areas of technology reporting, including Michael Arrington of TechCrunch:Forget CNN ... People are giving first hand reports of what theyre seeing directly on Twitter. Flickr is anotherimportant information resource..Twitter isnt the place for solid facts yet - the situation is way too disorganized.But its where the news is breaking,wrote Arrington.Similarly, social media led the way in coverage of violence and rioting in the lead-up to the Iranian elections in2009. YouTube videosposted by eyewitnessesfueled a firestorm of outrage against human rights atrocities. Yet
the authenticity of the video news reports could not be verified, which led to the inability to respond to potentialinjuries during the unrest.By the time Haiti was rocked by a 7.0 earthquake in January, 2010, many of those stranded turned to blogs,Twitter, Facebook and YouTube to report news and appeal for help. These tweets were posted on the day of theearthquake:
the hospital in Jacmel also seriously damaged and turning people away 
Posted by 
 Twitter user Melindayiti  
around 8 AM ET.
Phones are working somewhat in Haiti. Can't get a hold of my family though.
Posted by 
Twitter user  zabelbok  
around 8:30 AM ET.
e are mobilizing resources and preparing plans to bring medical assistance to areas that have been hardest hit.
Posted around 1:30 AM by 
 Twitter user PIH_Org
 , Partners in Health, Boston.
Excerpts from The Christian Science Monitor Individuals also turned their own blogs into media outlets, reporting the situation on the ground:Thousands of people are currently trapped. To guess at a number would be like guessing at raindrops in theocean. Precious lives hang in the balance. When pulled from the rubble there is no place to take them for careHaiti has an almost non existent medical care system for her people."
Posted at theTroy Livesay blog , fromPort 
Weather disasters are now routinely reported in social media. On theTwitter Journalismsite, which was foundedby Craig Kanalley, founder of Breaking Tweetsand the Traffic and Trends Editor for Huffington Post, adverseweather and its effect is reported regularly. This sample shows how a social technology like Twitter assisted duringthe tornados which touched down in Mississippi, killing ten, in April, 2010.bypixelbell 
Deadly tornado close to me today (Yazoo City, MS). Sad for the devastation. Verygrateful for@EricLawWLBTbeing on Twitter with warnings.
Underpinning the use of social media as a news gathering tool is a community mind-set in which the spirit of givingis highly important. This giving, combined with the maturation of the open source technologies, upon which manyof these media are founded, has spawned a collaboration movement in which volunteers with a wide range of talents are ready, willing, and able to respond.However, this rapid form of communication and its resulting motivated participants, while compelling, isunfocused and not directed to an entity that can actually make a useful response.
Chapter Three: The Crisis Collaboration Movement 
Concurrent to the rise of social media and its inclusion into the newsgathering function, media services, individualsand organizations were taking collaboration to a new level. These groups werent just donating food and clothing,or taking a shift to work in a shelter during hurricane season, they were using the power of the Internet and its vastsearch and connective capabilities to make sense of information overload during crises and develop technology-based solutions to respond.Media services used crowdsourcing to gather and disseminate data.Crowdsourcingis a phenomenon withpowerful implications for crisis response. Defined as offering an open call for solutions to a problem, the concepthas been successfully used for design challenges, communication and technology. Depending on the project, thecrowd may or may not be compensated for their ideas. It is beginning to be used for news reporting, too.Spot.Usis an open source project in which the public can commission and participate with journalists on topicsselected by the group.iReportis an initiative by CNN to add the voices of citizen journalists to news events. Firstvisitors to the site see this disclaimer:Welcome to iReport, where people take part in the news with CNN. Your voice, together with other iReporters,helps shape how and what CNN covers everyday.
So you know:
iReport is the way people like you report the news.The stories in this section are not edited, fact-checked or screened before they post. Only ones marked 'CNNiReport' have been vetted by CNN.A recent addition to aggregating mobile, social and location isUshahidi, a platform that unifies data gathered frommultiple sources (SMS, email, web) and distributes it onto a visual map or timeline. This technology was used totrack the Snowmaggedon storm in Washington D.C. last winter as well as tracking the progress of voting in India

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