If you’ve ever doubted how wired and connected we’ve become, take a look at the faces of people around you as a flight attendant announces that all portable devices must be turned off prior to takeoff. It’s a scurry to check e-mail or Facebook just one last time. And as that plane touches down, it’s a similar response—a mass reach for the mobile device to see what may have transpired while we were unplugged for the last 90 minutes.
We communicate online. For many people, the first they will learn or hear of an important news event or incident is through their computer or mobile device.
Those in the emergency preparedness and response community—from elected officials and non-profits to the media and the military—are realizing that social media has the power to transform the way emergency communications and operations are managed before, during and after the event.
On June 26th, I had the pleasure of moderating a discussion at Ogilvy Washington—along with partners Defense Daily and Northrop Grumman—on the Expanding Use of Social Media in Disaster Preparedness and Response. Our panel included Delaware Governor Jack Markell, Suzy DeFrancis (Chief Public Affairs Officer at the American Red Cross), Jason Samenow (Chief Meteorologist and Founder of the Washington Post’s “Capital Weather Gang”), and Lt. Cmdr. Chris Servello (Director, Navy Newsdesk, U.S. Navy).
Each of these individuals brought a very unique perspective of what it means to communicate online in the face of an unfolding emergency or disaster response scenario. They were extremely frank in sharing what worked well, where they need to improve, and how they are learning to weave social media into their organizations’ operations.
I invite you to watch the highlights video from the event below.