Social Media, Crisis Communication, and Emergency Management: Leveraging Web 2.0 Technologies
By Connie M. White; Reviewed by Yan Byalik
This book offers a unique look into the world of emergency management through the prism of social media.
***** Social Media, Crisis Communication, and Emergency Management: Leveraging Web 2.0 Technologies. By Connie M. White. CRC Press, www.crcpress.com; 329 pages; $69.95.
This book offers a unique look into the world of emergency management through the prism of social media. To achieve this perspective, the author infused her work with contributions from more than a dozen professionals in emergency management and information technology. The result is a comprehensive guided tour of the capabilities, methods, and suggested uses of social media in emergency management.
The work resembles an undergraduate textbook with well-defined chapters that are divided and subdivided into smaller sections. Concepts are routinely reinforced through diagrams and screen shots to help the reader follow along. Each chapter ends with a summary section and review exercises to help the reader digest the information as they proceed to the next chapter.
The work helps to establish best practices for professional organizations building and maintaining social media sites. These practices include discussions of what filters, permissions, membership, and access should or should not be granted and to whom. The result is a social media toolkit that can be used to tailor the content and access of a social media site to the specific audience and purpose desired.
For example, a site can be created to solicit photos and video from the general public living through a disaster to allow the emergency management agency access to real-time images from the scene. Another site can be set up as a discussion forum where membership is invitation-only for governmental agency representatives.
The included case studies are perhaps the most informative parts of the book. Readers who already have a basic understanding of social media can find creative ideas from other emergency managers around the world, including methods of implementing them. These ideas can also be applied by security professionals to their own social media programs in the broader security industry.
Novice computer users can learn in detail how to start profile pages, build groups, and send tweets from today’s most popular sites, including Facebook , Twitter , and YouTube. Users who are completely unfamiliar with computers, however, may find themselves somewhat overwhelmed by the volume of information being presented.
The book is a timely work that would benefit managers or directors in the safety, security, or emergency management field who are looking to venture into the world of social media. The concepts and ideas presented will help them to promote their organization or agency before a disaster through citizen engagement and networking with other professionals. During and after a disaster, these concepts will help establish a critical two-way flow of information, damage reports, and volunteer coordination.
Reviewer: Yan Byalik is the Top Guard security manager for Tidewater Community College and a member of ASIS International.