From the interactive, web-based course homepage: "Social media is a new technology that not only allows for another channel of broadcasting messages to the public, but also allows for two way communication between emergency managers and major stakeholder groups. Increasingly the public is turning to social media technologies to obtain up to date information during emergencies and to share data about the disaster in the form of geo data, text, pictures, video, or a combination of these media. Social media also can allow for greater situational awareness for emergency responders. While social media allows for many opportunities to engage in an effective conversation with stakeholders, it also holds many challenges for emergency managers. The purpose of this course is to provide the participants with best practices including tools, techniques and a basic roadmap to build capabilities in the use of social media technologies in their own emergency management organizations (State, local, Tribal) in order to further their emergency response missions."
Federal Emergency Management Agency: http://www.fema.gov/