Implementing Social Media in Crisis Response Using Knowledge Management

Implementing Social Media in Crisis Response Using Knowledge Management

Murray E. Jennex (San Diego State University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/jiscrm.2010100102

Abstract

Social media is being used by individuals during a crisis to alert rescuers to their location, status others on their condition or on environmental conditions, warn of issues, and so forth. However, organizations have been slower to adopt social media for crisis response. This paper explores issues affecting social media adoption by organizations for crisis response and proposes the use of knowledge management strategy as a process for mitigating these issues and guiding organizations in adopting social media into their crisis response plans.
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Crisis Response Systems

Crisis response systems are rarely used but when needed, must function well and without fail. Designing and building these systems requires designers to anticipate what will be needed, what resources will be available, and how conditions will differ from normal. A standard model for a crisis response system is from Bellardo, Karwan, and Wallace (1984) and identifies the components as including:

  • Database

  • Data analysis capability

  • Normative models

  • User interface.

This model has been modified by Jennex (2004a, 2008) using experience with the Year 2000, Y2K, response, Hurricane Katrina, the Strong Angel III and Golden Phoenix exercises, and the 2007 San Diego Wildfires to add:

  • Trained users (where users are personnel using the crisis response system to respond to or communicate about the emergency)

  • Dynamic and integrated (yet possibly physically distributed) methods to communicate between users (responders, concerned citizens, and victims) and between users and data, information, and knowledge sources

  • Protocols/ontology to facilitate communication

  • Geographical information systems or other mapping tools

  • Processes and procedures used to guide the response to and improve decision making during the crisis.

The goals of the expanded crisis response system model are to:

  • Facilitate clear communications

  • Improve data, information, and knowledge transfer and use

  • Improve the efficiency and effectiveness of decision-making

  • Manage data, information, and knowledge to prevent or at least mitigate information overload.

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