Lessons Learned: Social Media and Hurricane Sandy

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AUTHORS:
Virtual Social Media Working Group and DHS First Responders Group

SUMMARY:
Social media and collaborative technologies have become critical components of emergency preparedness, response, and recovery. From the international response efforts in major tsunamis to hurricane response and recovery in major U.S. cities, many government officials now turn to social media technologies to share information and connect with citizens during all phases of a crisis. Implementing these new technologies, however, requires that responding agencies adopt new communication strategies and engagement methods. Recognizing the need to address these challenges, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate (DHS S&T) established the Virtual Social Media Working Group (VSMWG) in December 2010. The mission of the VSMWG is to provide guidance and best practices to the emergency preparedness and response community on the safe and sustainable use of social media technologies before, during, and after emergencies.

Drawn from a cross section of subject matter experts from federal, tribal, territorial, state, and local responders from across the United States, VSMWG members are establishing and collecting best practices and solutions that can be leveraged by public safety officials and responders throughout the nation’s emergency response community.