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FAQ for the Digital Operations Center

FAQ for the Digital Operations Center

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Published by American Red Cross

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Published by: American Red Cross on Mar 15, 2012
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04/10/2012

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Its official name is the Digital Operations Center. It is physically located in theDisaster Operations Center in Washington, DC. Internally, we call it theDigiDOC.
What does the Digital Operations Center do?
 The Digital Operations Center gives the public a seat at the table of disasteroperations. The public is a vital participant in emergency response andrecovery. They often are the first responders to their own neighbors, and theycan provide valuable information to the Red Cross and other responseagencies. Our goal is to be informed by and to become a social liaison forpeople, families, and communities to support one another before, during, andafter disasters. The Digital Operations Center will enhance our informationabout disaster situations, enable us to better anticipate disaster needs, andhelp the Red Cross connect people with the resources they need during anemergencies. The Digital Operations Center is modeled afterDell’s Social Media CommandCenter. Dell provided resources and consulting services on this project.
 
We use these tools to search social conversations globally in English, but ourmain focus is on domestic operations.
How will you know if the Digital Operations Center is effective?
We'll be evaluating the success of the room by answering the followingquestions
Are we pulling in relevant, actionable data?
Are our efforts increasing the strength and resilience of communitiesbefore, during, and after emergencies?
Are we providing relevant services via social tools we wouldn't haveotherwise been able to provide?
Are we facilitating a satisfying and valuable digital volunteerexperience?
Who works in the Digital Operations Center?
 The social engagement team - currently Wendy Harman, Gloria Huang, andKristiana Almeida. At least one of us will always be here or very close to hereduring regular business hours. Except for next week when we'll be at aconference to train more volunteers. We do our best. During major disasters,we will bring in trained volunteers to help.
Who is monitoring, aggregating, and translating to action all this dataoutside of business hours? Shouldn't you be staffed 24 hours/day
?While there won't be someone physically in the Digital Operations Center 24hours/day, we can access the data that creates the visualizations fromanywhere. We're lucky to have a pretty big network of supporters who will alertus when an issue needs immediate attention. At least one person will be in theDigital Operations Center whenever the Disaster Operations Center (DOC) isactivated. If the DOC is activated 24 hours/day, we will be, too.
How does the information coming into the Digital Operations Centerget to operational decision makers?
In at least 4 ways:1.Decision makers for major disasters work within eyesight of the DigitalOperations Center. They can come by at any time to get situationalawareness at a glance. For this, the data is in the form of thevisualizations on the 6 screens in the Digital Operations Center. We canadjust what data we're pulling in at any time. We're always tweakingand adapting to be relevant to what's happening on a given day.2.The social engagement team will report out to decision makers atnational headquarters as well as to the local field operations multipletimes per day when there is a major disaster. For this, the data is in theform of a summary report that includes our engagement activities aswell as any trends.3.Decision makers can directly engage with individuals. For this, the datais presented in the Radian6 engagement console. We are able to createtailored engagement consoles so that subject matter experts areinformed by people talking about their area of expertise right from theirown computers. We are training a handful of them to use this software.
 
4.We will share this data with our partners and local operations. For this,the data will be in the form of summary reports very similar or identicalto those discussed in #2. We will work with each operation to determinewhat data is actionable.
How do you engage with individuals from the Digital OperationsCenter?
In at least 2 ways:1.We can holistically see all public social conversation about any givenemergency. We look at what questions people have and what issuesthey are facing and that information informs what content we push outthrough our national communications channels, including Facebook, Twitter, redcross.org, emails, etc.2.Our digital volunteers and subject matter experts can engage withindividuals via the engagement consoles they use on their owncomputers outside of the Digital Operations Center. For example,whenever a digital volunteer responds via the engagement console tosomeone asking where the nearest shelter is, all the other digitalvolunteers and the social engagement team will know this activity hashappened. This way we don't duplicate efforts and we can keep track of how many people we provide services to and how well we're able tohelp.
How does one become a Digital Volunteer?
During major disasters, we often need help to provide Red Cross services viasocial engagement.Requirements:1.You have an active personal Twitter account whose content andpresentation reflects the Fundamental Principles of the Red Cross. Weprobably won’t choose those who frequently tweet profane, political, orreligious content.2.You have an active personal Facebook, Pinterest, Google+ or othersocial presence.3.You are willing to use your personal social accounts as an officialrepresentative of the American Red Cross.4.You are empathetic5.You are detail-oriented and post only confirmed informationSteps:1.Emailsocialmedia@redcross.orgto indicate your desire to become a RedCross disaster digital volunteer, including links to your social presences2.We will initiate the process to run a background check.3.Once the background check is done, you will be asked to complete 2trainings (a) Social Engagement Certification Training and (b) disasterdigital volunteer advanced social engagement training.4.Once you’ve completed 1-3, we will keep you in our database and callon you to help whenever there is a major disaster.
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