Next Steps: Social Media for Emergency Response

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Quick Facts

Publishing Organisation:
Science and Technology Directorate of the United States Department of Homeland Security
Primary Target Country:
United States of America
Covers Thematic
  • Community management Community Management in Social Media is the active component of interacting with your community of followers, fans and target audience across your social media platforms. This includes active listening, which is an important element of engaging with your followers to understand their wants and needs regarding your services.</br></br>Source:
  • Legal/Standards Legal Requirement means any federal, state, local, municipal, foreign or other law, statute, constitute, principle of common law, resolution, ordinance, code, edict, decree, rule, regulation, ruling or requirement issued, enacted, adopted, promulgated, implemented or otherwise put into effect by or under the authority of any Governmental Body. </br></br>Source:</br></br>Standards are voluntary documents that set out specifications, procedures and guidelines that aim to ensure products, services, and systems are safe, consistent, and reliable. They cover a variety of subjects, including consumer products and services, the environment, construction, energy and water utilities, and more.</br></br>Source:
  • Social Media Strategy A social media strategy is a document outlining your social media goals, the tactics you will use to achieve them and the metrics you will track to measure your progress</br></br>Source:
  • Target audience
  • Policy Makers local, national, and European agencies and institutes, public authorities, standardization bodies
  • Practitioners Practitioners is a target group in LINKS which comprises local, national and European disaster management organizations, civil protection agencies, first responders, NGOs, security networks...
  • Audience experience level
  • Starter Those who are not currently using social media, or the current use is based on providing general information and advice to citizens</br></br>Source:
  • Disaster Management Phase
  • Before Comprises 'Preparedness Phase' and 'Prevention Phase'</br></br>Preparedness action is carried out within the context of disaster risk management and aims to build the capacities needed to efficiently manage all types of emergencies and achieve orderly transitions from response to sustained recovery.</br></br>Source:</br></br>Prevention (i.e., disaster prevention) expresses the concept and intention to completely avoid potential adverse impacts of hazardous events.</br></br>Source:
  • Synopsis

    The purpose of this document

    • Provide guidance to public safety agencies developing social media strategies and programs
    • Discuss challenges and considerations related to social media specific for agency use
    • Provide best practices and policy examples for inclusion in agency strategies

    Some things to consider when developing policies

    • Human Resources
      • Resources required
      • Training and education required
      • Job descriptions
      • Liability
      • Ethical conduct and accountability to an agency’s rules of conduct
        • personal versus professional use of social media tools and technologies
    • Operational and Communications Security
      • Classification and handling guidelines
        • eg., For Official Use Only, Sensitive But Unclassified, Classified
      • Training and education
      • Devices
        • e.g., personal versus agency-provided, etc.
      • Integration with existing tools and processes
    • Legal and Compliance
      • Copyright laws
      • Records retention requirements
      • Endorsement of products, services, and postings
      • Public disclosure and Sunshine laws
      • Privacy.
    • Business Continuity
      • Necessary access rights and password policies
      • Redundancies
    • Information Technology
      • Bandwidth and other resources (servers, etc.)
      • Training and education
      • Integration.
    • Communications and Engagement
      • Messaging;
      • Metrics and measuring success
      • Outreach


    There are several steps to adopting new technologies and methodologies, each of which require careful consideration and planning.

    These include the following:

    • Choosing the right technology and applications
    • Strategy, policy, and procedure development
    • Setting and managing expectations
    • Engaging the community
    • Managing misinformation
    • Addressing challenges to adoption, including concerns related to
      • privacy
      • public comment
      • record retention
      • public disclosure
      • health information
      • human resources
      • information technology
      • security

    Linked to