03
Feb
11

Citizen 2.0

FEMA - 40808 - PDA team in Arkansas

Image via Wikipedia

We put a lot of focus on the use of #SMEM in emergency management, specifically with emergency management’s use of social media technology.  We are developing training and policies for emergency managers so they know how to develop programs and utilize the technology.  We are presenting at conferences and seminars to help get more emergency managers on board.  We are even trying to develop ways to get emergency managers to use standard hashtags.  We have made a lot of headway and are getting a lot of eyes on social media during disasters.  But what about the citizens?  How are we ensuring they are posting reports and using the hashtags?

We need to tackle the discrepancy in the same manner that we tackled the lack of use by emergency managers.  We need to engage citizens and citizen volunteer groups and get them to start using the technology.  I was talking to @metalerik today on twitter.  He direct messaged me about how he was excited to follow me and the SMEM initiative.  I told him, “Great”, and that we would be more than happy to help him along.  Citizen involvement in the overall initiative and local efforts needs to involve citizens.  They are the ones who will either adopt and allow your program to be successful and receiving reports or they won’t be involved.  If they don’t know how or where to report what they see, then they won’t report or you won’t be able to find what they do report.  Your citizens are also who pay your bills so by engaging them and including them in the process you get to show them where their hard earned cash is going and you get to deliver your preparedness message and training right to the source.

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