Tuesday, April 10, 2012

When Disaster Hits How Will Your Agency Communicate With Your Community?

The tech media outlet Mashable had a story yesterday about how social media use is gaining ground in response to disasters. 
From government agencies and other organizations, to citizens and social platforms themselves, people across the spectrum of social media are leveraging its use to respond to emergencies. According to a 2011 report of the Congressional Research Service, there are two broad categories in the way that we can conceptualize this use of social media: 1) to “somewhat passively” disseminate information and receive user feedback; and 2) to use social media more systematically as an emergency management tool. 
I had a conversation recently with a Public Affairs Officer at a local law enforcement agency. She commented on how easy it was to send out a press release using social media as opposed to updating a more traditional website at her agency. This ease of use makes social media an attractive medium for communicating with your community whether it's in response to a disaster or for more routine needs.

Does your agency use social media for communicating with the community you serve? The IACP's Center for Social Media has some great resources to help you get started or to improve your social media outreach.

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