New Presentations on Social Media in Disasters, Crises, Emergencies

My blog has been laying fallow while I work on recovering from an injury to my dominant arm, but, as progress is being made with healing, I want to try to start getting back into the blogging habit, starting with some simple posts. Today I stumbled onto some excellent slide presentations on use of social media in disasters of various sorts, a topic for which I have great passion and which is highly relevant to health professionals, especially those working in public health.

Two of the presentations I want to highlight are both by folk who are excellent resources on this topic, but people just don’t know about them as much as I think is deserved. They are Anahi Iacucci, Senior Innovation Advisor at Internews Network, and Jim Garrow, Operations and Logistics Manager at Philadelphia Department of Public Health. The other is by the phenomenal Eric K. Noji, who spoke here at UM some years ago, and has published widely on this topic. He is my number one go-to guy for information about information needs during different types of disasters. You might not know he’s on Slideshare, though, because he isn’t there under his own name, but as “Center for Polar Medical Operations, US Antarctic Program.”


Starting with the last, Dr. Noji posted a new presentation a few days ago on how to foster disaster resilience around the entire world, courtesy of Dr. Walter Hays. I would LOVE to see libraries use the structure of knowledge presented here to strategically plan information collections designed explicitly for disaster preparation for their own local community.

Three steps towards global disaster resilience in 2014:
“Continuation of a renewed emphasis on promoting our 2014 paradigm of global disaster resilience.
Step 1: Integrating Today’s Global Knowledge Into Global Books of Knowledge
Step 2: From Today’s Books of Knowledge to Innovative Capacity Building
Step 3: From Today’s Paradigm to Tomorrow’s
Presentation courtesy of Dr. Walter Hays, Global Alliance for Disaster Reduction”

You might also find interesting his earlier paper on “Emergent Use of Social Media” upload of the “Bill Gates Favorite Info Graphic for 2013: Causes of Untimely Death.”


Anahi Iacucci evidently decided to do some late year housekeeping, and uploaded a boatload of great slide presentations all on December 15th. I’m being selective and only pointing out a few that I think are particularly important, as well as recent.

In this first selection, Ms. Iacucci expresses the important issue of how open data and open access can have unexpected and important impacts in a time of crisis.

“While a growing conversation is happening around Open Data as a driver for development and accountability, little, if any, is being said about the role of open data in humanitarian emergencies. While we ask governments to open all their data as a duty towards their citizens, humanitarian organizations seems to be pretty much left outside. Is there a need for open data in the humanitarian community space? What would it look like? Are transparency and accountability strictly linked to the healthy recovery of communities in emergencies?”

Humanitarian emergencies: searching for Open Data

The next selection focuses on what you can DO with the right information! How can access to necessary information promote trust, and how does that information move from person to person to get to the point of need? The main foci of the talk is on: Information flows, trust, influence, technology & new media.

Preventing Conflict with the right information – UNDP Workshop

Last but not least of this group is a piece she does on the power of social media and crowdsourcing for information dissemination, gathering, and management during crisis.

“The overall objective of this workshop was to increase the effectiveness of internal communications among public health stakeholders and external communications with the general public before, during, and after public health emergencies.”

Social Media for Public Health during Emergencies

There are several other goodies in her collection, worth exploring.


Following along that theme, the first piece from Jim Garrow’s collection is his excellent keynote from the National Association of Government Webmasters 2013.

Saving Lives 2.0: How Social Media will Change Disasters and Response

Next, his clever and witty presentation earlier this year at the 2013 Northeast Texas Public Health Association Emergency Preparedness Bridging the Gaps Conference.

The Role of Social Media in Disasters

Lastly, his November collection of examples and stories. I wish I could have heard this, or that audio was available to go with it! Still, and excellent resource for those looking for persuasive examples to use in conversation with their own communities.

Social Media in Disasters: reports from the field


Here’s a bonus. This isn’t a terribly well done slide presentation, but it has interesting information which I seriously hope will be better presented somewhere else. This is giving survey data results from an American Red Cross survey done in 2012, and which was evidently posted in Slideshare by someone unconnected with the project. I was able to locate the original slides here. The particular part that captured my attention most was on slide 8:

“8% of the general public, 14% of 18-34 year olds, and 10% of the online population have downloaded a smartphone app that could help in a disaster or emergency
have downloaded an app that could help in a disaster or emergency.”

“Most Popular Emergency Apps
1. Weather Forecasting App 82%
2. Flashlight App 52%
3. First Aid App 31%
4. Police Scanner App 26%
5. Disaster Preparedness App 19% “

Social media in disasters and emergencies (survey red cross)

And another fascinating piece (the excellent NASEO report on how social media was used in Hurricane Sandy) which someone else loaded to slideshare after they found it elsewhere online.

June 2013, Lessons Learned: Social Media and Hurricane Sandy (Virtual Social Media Working Group and DHS First Responders Group)


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