The raid on Osama bin Laden’s crib last week was not only an epic accomplishment for our country (and Obama’s approval ratings), it likely seemed even more epic for one of his neighbors, @ReallyVirtual. This poor guy was minding his own business working late at home, and starts tweeting about the annoyingly loud helicopters buzzing the neighborhood. He hears some booms, speculates it might be a training exercise or maybe something worse. A couple of his neighbors (not the infamous ones) also tweet around trying to figure out what is going on. A little later, he figures out that he unwittingly recorded perhaps the most infamous take down in modern history. His follower count shot up to over 100,000 within hours, and news organizations hounded him all week. I got a feeling he can’t wait for his 15 minutes of fame to run out
@ReallyVirtual’s actions that night provided a “data point” of information related to a specific event, yet didn’t have a clue about what was really going on. FEMA Director Fugate used the term “data point” during last weeks Senate subcommittee testimony to describe someone who uses a mobile data device during disasters (the hearing was very well done by the way). A data point by itself may not reveal much. But you start getting a bunch of them, and now you may have information to scrub, analyze and/or make decisions on.
The cool thing about “creeping” on Twitter is it isn’t as labor intensive as actively engaging with the public. You don’t have to artfully craft messages, monitor and respond to inquires, have on line conversations, etc… Nope, you have one or two folks plugged into your EOC or ICP who are simply watching and analyzing the data points, and providing this information up the chain of command. Now, where this function resides is still a topic of debate within the ICS community. Some think it should be within the Situation Unit, others advocate for it to reside within the PIO/JIC arena. We’ll get it figured out. Until we do, I’ll focus on the qualities of the “disaster creeper” I want. As an IC, I need the right person to do the real-time listening. Someone with;
- Real world tactical and operational experience in large scale emergencies.
- ICS familiarity and discipline
- Already established personal and/or professional SM presence, so they are already intuitive creepers
- Working knowledge of social media creepin’ tools (TweetDeck, Hootsuite, etc…)
- Understanding of available crowd sourcing support (like Crisismappers).
- The ability to make maps show critical data point information using free web based services, and
- A really cool Avatar
I’m thinkin’ @Really Virtual should change his handle to @ReallyREALLYVirtual.