First Responders Communities of Practice Virtual Social Media Working Group - Community Engagement Guidance and Best Practices [Beta Version 1.1] [open pdf - 405KB]
"Social media and collaborative technologies have become critical components of emergency preparedness, response, and recovery. From the international response efforts after major tsunamis to hurricane recovery in major U.S. cities, 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 a virtual social media working group (VSMWG). The mission of the VSMWG is to provide recommendations 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 responders throughout the nation's emergency response community. Below is a list of agencies to which the VSMWG members belong. [...] The VSMWG developed this document with input from the public safety community through online engagement hosted on the DHS First Responder Communities of Practice portal and through online discussions via other social media channels between February and August of 2011. It is intended for use by all public safety disciplines and all types of agencies to better understand and utilize social media and other Web-based tools without having to 'reinvent the wheel' or spend hours searching for examples or policy templates or use cases. This document provides a high-level introduction to social media and its benefits for public safety, examples and best practices from agencies already using social media, and serves as a starting point for developing an agency's detailed social media strategy. The VSMWG has also developed a Next Steps document as follow up to this Social Media Strategy, which provides considerations and detailed next steps for public safety agencies on developing and implementing social media."
DHS2012C041; Department of Homeland Security 2012C041
U.S. Department of Homeland Security: http://www.dhs.gov/