What is a Virtual Operations Support Team?

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Quick Facts

Publishing Organisation:
EAPD (Employment Alliance for People with Disabilities)
Year:
2012
Languages:
English
Covers Thematic
  • Unaffiliated volunteers Spontaneous or unaffiliated volunteers are individuals or groups that:</br>*arrive unsolicited at the scene of a disaster</br>*may or may not be a resident of the affected community</br>*may or may not possess skills necessary to respond to the current disaster</br>*are not associated with any part of the existing emergency management system </br></br>Source: https://www.ojp.gov/pdffiles1/Archive/202852NCJRS.pdf
  • VOST Virtual Operations Support Team</br></br>Experts in dealing with social media, the acquisition, processing and presentation of digital information. They can search through and check images, videos and text contributions on various platforms for relevant facts and prepare the information for the responsible authorities, e.g. separate important from unimportant or incorrect information.
  • Target audience
  • Civil Society Civil society is a target group in LINKS which comprises citizens, civil society organizations, educational institutions, vulnerable groups, social movement organizations
  • 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
  • Intermediate Those who currently use social media to communicate with the public and have developed a draft social media strategy, even if this is not thoroughly documented or communicated across the organisation</br></br>Source: https://www.fp7-emergent.eu/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/20170529_D7.3_Guidelines_to_increase_the_benefit_of_social_media_EmerGent.pdf
  • Disaster Management Phase
  • During Also referred to as "Response Phase"</br></br>Actions taken directly before, during or immediately after a disaster in order to save lives, reduce health impacts, ensure public safety and meet the basic subsistence needs of the people affected.</br></br>Annotation: Disaster response is predominantly focused on immediate and short-term needs and is sometimes called disaster relief. Effective, efficient and timely response relies on disaster risk-informed preparedness measures, including the development of the response capacities of individuals, communities, organizations, countries and the international community.</br></br>Source: https://www.undrr.org/terminology/response
  • After Also referred to as 'Recovery Phase'</br></br>The restoring or improving of livelihoods and health, as well as economic, physical, social, cultural and environmental assets, systems and activities, of a disaster-affected community or society, aligning with the principles of sustainable development and “build back better”, to avoid or reduce future disaster risk.</br></br>Source: https://www.undrr.org/terminology/recovery
  • Mentions platforms
    Synopsis

    VOST can be defined as a team that accomplishes some or all of the following

    • Establishes a social media presence for an organization that previously did not use social networking tools to communicate with the public;
    • Monitors social media communications;
    • Handles matters that can be executed remotely through digital means such as assisting with the management of donations or volunteers;
    • Follows social media and traditional media trends and reports back to the organization what is being seen;
    • Identifies misinformation or angry postings that need to be corrected or dealt with;
    • Provides a supportive voice for the organization and its efforts;
    • Amplifies the organization’s message by repeating content (via personal and/or official social media accounts);
    • Compiles media coverage (traditional and non-traditional) by date;
    • Documents Social Media Conversation


    VOST models

    • External Support (Amplify and Monitor Only)
      • Organizations that are both new to social media and the concept of a “VOST” might consider using support from team members in a more conservative manner. In this model the following support might be provided:
        • Follow social media and traditional media trends and reports back to the organization what is being seen;
        • Communicate issues and concerns being expressed by the public (e.g. represents the citizen’s perspective);
        • Identify misinformation or angry postings that need to be corrected or dealt with;
        • Provide a supportive voice for the organization and its efforts;
        • Amplify the organization’s message by repeating content (via personal and/or established community VOST social accounts).
    • Hybrid Support (Amplify, Monitor, and Respond on behalf of the organization, but with specific limits)
      • In this model, the team does everything identified in the external support model, but also responds to questions from community members and posts content on behalf of the organization.
      • Unlike the model above, these individuals would be made administrators of those accounts.
      • In this approach, however, there are specific limitations placed on the team members.
    • Internal/Embedded (Full range of social media duties and support)
      • In this model, the VOST team leader is given the full range of social media duties.
      • This model is often utilized by small communities that do not have a full-time (or even part-time Press Information Office) and the Agency’s staff person responsible for social media communication has many other duties during the response to a crisis or disaster.

    Linked to

    • Technologies
    • Use Cases