"Social media are web-based networks that allow users to communicate and interact with family, friends, colleagues, community groups, and government organizations for the purpose of sharing information and multimedia content. Use of these communications tools has been on the rise within the emergency responder community over the past several years. The benefits range from an ongoing dialog with the public that can aid in more cooperation and resiliency during actual emergencies to crime solving based on input from eye witnesses in the community. [...] Many emergency responder agencies may hesitate to establish a social media presence in their jurisdictions due to concerns regarding network security, privacy, and misuse of information. Agencies may also lack staff resources with the familiarity and experience using social media as a valid communication tool. All of these factors can cause a certain level of mistrust of the technology and its potential uses in government. The purpose of this application note is to provide an overview of current social media tools and networks, how social media is used by emergency responders, and the benefits and challenges inherent in social media use. It should be noted that the set of tools and networks available grows and shrinks--one site may suddenly disappear or lose popularity, while others gain popularity. Information used in this application note was gathered from Internet research and a review of literature on the subject of social media use in public safety agencies."
Department of Homeland Security: https://www.dhs.gov/