“Factors obstructing the adoption of crowdsourcing, social media, and digital volunteerism approaches often include uncertainty about accuracy, fear of liability, inability to translate research into operational decision-making, and policy limitations on gathering and managing data. Prior to the workshop, many in the formal response community assumed that such obstructions are insurmountable and, therefore, that the approaches could not be adopted by the response community.”
This statement, lifted from the executive summary of the findings of a recent workshop Connecting Grassroots to Government for Disaster Management, blew me away… Really?!!! Obstructions are insurmountable? Approaches can’t be adopted? Sheesh… Man, do we still have a long ways to go. For the past few years myself, along with others in the emergency response community have been beating the drum for social media adoption and use by emergency responders. But, this outstanding document again affirms that we need to keep the beat going.
We need more social media renegades; those willing to say “Yippee Ki-Yay M*#+^*&@#!” in challenging the bureaucratic and legal hand-wringers to make sure they engage with their customers (For you “youngin’s, the Yippee Ki-Ya phrase is from the Die Hard movies). Until the social media culture shift is complete, an inherent tension between the establishment and those who champion engagement will continue.
With that said, self-gratification and illegal disclosure of confidential/sensitive information through the uncontrolled use of mobile devices needs to be addressed through policy in every emergency response agency.
As for us social media “cowboys”, we’ll keep up the chant; “YIPPEE KI-YA!”