Next Steps: Social Media for Emergency Response

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Primary Target Country United States of America
Publishing Organisation Science and Technology Directorate of the United States Department of Homeland Security
Language English
Year Published 2012
Target Audience Policy Makers, Practitioners
Status Published
Disaster Management Phase Before
Covers Thematic Community management, Content creation, Legal/Standards, Social Media Strategy, Technologies
Audience Experience Level Starter
Source Website VSMWG Next Steps Social Media Strategy Formatted May 2013 FINAL.pdf
Abstract 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
Is Archived No
Covers platforms

This guidance provides best practices and policy examples to better understand and utilize social media for inclusion in agency strategies.