Welcome to the the next instalment in my series of social media tips. These are aimed primarily at a police audience, but hopefully applicable to a wider group of people too, especially those in the public sector. This series of posts will aim to identify some good practice and useful hints and tips for police officers and staff to consider when using social media.
Part 13: Policing Disasters
Parts 10, 11 and 12 of the handbook tackled using social media in public order and major investigations. As I said there, I hear a lot of scepticism about whether it is any use operationally – so called ‘real policing’.
No this is not alist of policing disasters, but rather the way in which police forces can proactively use social media to improve how disasters such as floods and other natural or man-made events are handled.
- Start early – it is much easier to get a message out if people already follow you and trust you.
- Figure out your trusted sources early – similarly if you have existing social media accounts you know you can trust, it will make it easier to sift intelligence from rumour.
- Know how information can be passed to those on the ground – this requires a mechanism to filter and assess what may be thousands of Tweets and updates, and the best way to pass useful information to people on the ground.
- Know how social media platforms can complement your traditional media, and consider moving your prime effort to social media in the early stages of an incident
- Allow updates from the field – as I keep saying, social media is a two-way process. Your officers and staff need to know how to use social media, and have appropriate permission and technology to do so before disaster strikes.
So ask yourself – if it happened tomorrow, how ready is your organisation?Other parts: Part 1:What Social Media Networks should I use? Part 2:How do I get followers / friends ? Part 3:Policy / Strategy / Guidance Part 4: Ten things to have on your page to drive up interest Part 5: What to do when things go wrong Part 6:We don’t do that here Part 7: Twitter and Flick’r Part 8: Link it all together Part9:Talk to Local People Part10:Operational Uses Part 11:More Operational Uses Part 12:Operational use – Policing Protest