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Volume 31, Issue 2

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Thursday, 14 December 2017 14:59

The Complete Toolkit: Social Media’s Critical Role in an Emergency Mass Notification System

Social media of all types have joined email, telephony and instant messaging as main stream communication tools that are used daily in many individual’s lives. The Pew Research Center estimates that 68% (216.9 million individuals) of US citizens have a Facebook profile, and 21% (66.9 million individuals) use Twitter. These tools have become a key part of the communication landscape and need to be a consideration in any emergency communication solution. With the release of the social media enhancements to the CodeRED Launcher, these tips are especially important to keep in mind:

#1 – Social media has evolved into a viable communication tool

Throughout the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in New York City, the primary source of information for the public was television. A case study on the attacks showed, “more than half of Americans learned about the terrorist attacks from television, and only 1% from the Internet”2

Fast forward to Hurricane Katrina in 2005 – “mainstream media sites dominated with 73 percent (73%)”2 of online traffic directed at major news organizations for information and disaster relief donations.2 More recently, during the emergency response to the 2015 San Bernardino attack, online and social media platforms were successfully utilized by local police and FBI members to create a new manner of public information sharing.  Safety Response Reports after the event identified Twitter as a critical component for media operations and credited the team’s utilization of the platform.3

People’s automatic reaction of turning to social media and the Internet to gather information continues to grow and today’s mass notification systems must provide tools for managing these critical touch points.