Lessons Learned: Social Media and Hurricane Sandy   [open pdf - 5MB]

"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. 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 monthly meetings, online engagement hosted on the DHS First Responder Communities of Practice portal and through virtual discussions via other social media channels between November 2012 and April 2013. This report serves as a follow-up to all of the previously published VSMWG documents, including the Social Media Strategy, Next Steps: Social Media for Emergency Response, and Community Engagement and Social Media Best Practices. This document provides an overview on how social media was used in preparation for, in response to, and in recovery from Hurricane Sandy ('Sandy') in late October 2012. It also discusses processes identified by the first responder community as best practices; presents examples, themes in applications, and lessons learned; identifies gaps in technology, process, and/or policy; and offers points requiring further discussion."

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DHS S&T First Responder Communities of Practice: https://communities.firstresponder.gov/
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