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Friday, December 23, 2011

THE TOP 3: best in #smem ... the big reveal

Okay, it shouldn't come as a big surprise that my top three choices for the best destinations on social media in emergency management are bloggers. I'm a blogger. To me, blogs are still relevant as a way to focus interest, launch discussions and make signification contributions. Coupled with social media savvy ... blogs can have an impact ... So here we go. 

In third spot ( I'm still ranking although they all share the top spot on the smem podium in my mind) is my friend Jim Garrow. His blog "the face of the matter" has become one of the most important destinations on what social media means in terms of public health and emergency preparedness, but also what it means for the convergence of legacy media and how people consume their news. 

This means Jim understand the new challenges faced by PIOs, incident managers and other EM professionals because social media is changing our world. His blog posts reflect his thinking on key issues. For example:
James Garrow is an avid blogger (since his days as JimmyJazz) but he's a fabulous tweeter and knows how to maximize his influence by punctual and effective tweets. Kudos all around ... a source of inspiration and someone I consider a friend.

In second spot, Kim Stephens. The author of perhaps the most significant blog on smem: the "idisaster 2.0" blog.  Kim provides a good analysis of the growing role of new technologies and social media in the response and recovery phases. 

Her posts on Joplin tornado aftermath and in the follow up to the Queensland floods really illustrated the growing important of SM in all phases of EM.  And that's why they were both highlighted (Joplin, Queensland)  in her own list of top smem destinations. And she finds time to speak with those involved in EM activities and get their feedback about the role of SM.

Whether talking about preparedness, crisis communications or engaging with audiences, Kim's comments come from experience and with sound observations on the benefits (and risks) of social media and mobile technologies.

You can hear share her vision and observations in this podcast. A regular contributor to the Friday #smemchat, Kim is a mainstay on the #smem hashtag on twitter ... She is a trusted voice and her opinion matters ... to more than just a few people.  Well done my friend!



Now time for the drum roll ... I'm a blogger writing on emergency management and crisis communications but I'm first and foremost, a communicator and a former reporter. So, it's natural that my first choice as someone who influences me the most in the smem world (both from a crisis comms and an EM perspective) should be another communicator.


The blogs penned by Gerald Baron (AKA the crisisblogger) tops my list of the 25 most important destinations online for social media in emergency management. As I mentioned earlier in my list, Gerald writes a blog for Emergency Management Magazine in addition to his own personal blog. His writings clearly illustrate the impact that social media have on crises and how perceptions are shaped. That's the bread and butter of crisis communicators.




Now, undertaking a new challenge as head of his firm (Agincourt Strategies), Gerald is positioning himself as one of the most respected face in the world of crisis communications. A world that's forever changed because of the imperatives brought by social media. He explains what it means for organizations, businesses, government, journalists and the public:


Because of his experiences in large-scale emergencies (think BP Gulf spill), his creation of the PIER System and his work with some of the most important businesses and organizations involved in emergency response, Gerald's words carry a lot of weight. You can follow him on twitter as @gbaron.


I know i'm constantly learning when I read his posts and those of Jim Garrow and Kim Stephens.


So this brings me to the end of my little holiday project and while it was lots of fun, it was also time consuming ... so, some time off from this blog for a few days !  And for those who think this was just about promoting the work of friends, a sort of "mutual adoration society" ... well, I call 'em as I see 'em ... The people and organizations on my list matter to me ... and that's all I ever wanted to show ... 


Many, many thanks to those who've responded to my posts and also to Kim and Jim for agreeing to come up with their own list ... the variety of choices is testimony to the excellent work done all over the world in integrating SM into EM programs.


Best wishes to you all!


the complete list: 
#1: Gerald Baron ... the crisisblogger ... as close to a guru as I've got ...
#2: Kim Stephens, the idisaster 2.0 blog ...  brilliant smem analysis ... 
#3: Jim Garrows' the face of the matter blog ... the Philly SMEM stalwart ...
#4: PTSC-Online ... a Canadian EM professional development tool
#5: Linkedin Groups ... groups on EM and SM on LinkedIn
#6: Craig Fugate and FEMA
#7: the SocialMedia Examiner website
#8: Emergency Management Magazine
#9: Chief Bill Boyd's blog: It's not my emergency! 
#10: SM4EM. org and Cheryl Bledsoe
#11: Jeff Phillips, Los Ranchos EM

#12: Sgt Tim Burrows, Constable Scott Mills and the Toronto Police Service 
#13: the weekly #smemchat
#14: 999 Social Media 
#15: Brian Humphrey ... a true pionneer 
#16: ushahidi ... witnessing change and progress in SMEM

Thursday, December 22, 2011

No also ran in my list: honourable mentions top #smem

When I ran the idea of coming up with a list by Kim Stephens and James Garrow, I figured it would be hard to come up with a definite list. Well, it proved impossible. My list is very personal and so are the lists compiled by Kim and Jim.


Narrowing my own list down to 25 proved difficult. So much so that I decide to dedicate a quick post to "honourable mentions". So here we go (in no particular order and many more could be added here ...)



If you're interested in the stuff these people share and many others, you can subscribed to my delicio.us account where I keep a whole series of links on everything even remotely related to SMEM: http://delicious.com/patricecloutier

at #4: an online development tool for Canadian EM and BCP

My good friend Kim Stephens , beat me to the punch on my choice for fourth place on my list of top 25 smem destinations. Partnerships Toward Safer Communities Online or PTSC-Online is a Canadian site dedicated to the continuous improvement of Canadian emergency management, business continuity and critical infrastructure protection programs. 

The site provides tools for on line information sharing and collaboration. These tools include blogs, online training, forums and a repository of BPC and EM information. Sponsored by the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs, PTSC-Online has a clear focus on emerging technologies and social media.

Under the able leadership of William McKay, the site continues to make valuable contributions to emergency management and BCP practices in Canada. In fact, its readership is from all over the world, which is a pretty good indication of the quality of the information that can be found on the site.

My colleague Barry Radford and I developed a project integrating social media into a crisis communications planning template. A compendium  of our efforts can also be found on the site. Barry and I continue to contribute to the blog section of PTSC-Online. 

Bill Mackay has done a fantastic job promoting the site on his company's twitter account and using the PTSC-Online account, highlighting valuable contributions. Because of Bill's interest in promoting the use of social media and innovative technologies in BCP and EM programs, PTSC-Online stands at #4 on my list of top 25 social media in emergency management destinations.


The list so far:
#4: PTSC-Online#5: Linkedin Groups ... groups on EM and SM on LinkedIn
#6: Craig Fugate and FEMA
#7: the SocialMedia Examiner website
#8: Emergency Management Magazine
#9: Chief Bill Boyd's blog: It's not my emergency! 
#10: SM4EM. org and Cheryl Bledsoe
#11: Jeff Phillips, Los Ranchos EM

#12: Sgt Tim Burrows, Constable Scott Mills and the Toronto Police Service 
#13: the weekly #smemchat
#14: 999 Social Media 
#15: Brian Humphrey ... a true pionneer 
#16: ushahidi ... witnessing change and progress in SMEM

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Social network for EM professionals ... yes, it's LinkedIn

It's easy to overlook the importance of LinkedIn as a professional social networking tool. The social media platform has allowed me to make connections, learn, get information and identify emerging practices and exchange views with peers from around the world. In a nutshell, it's like going to a conference every time you sit at your desk and log on. That's why LinkedIn sits at number five on my top 25 smem destinations.


You don't think it's a true smem destination? Well, i beg to disagree ... The groups I belong to, cover everything from situational awareness and interoperability of EM platforms/software, to EM professional organizations, event-specific groups and group for EM researchers and homeland security.


You can observe and take what you need or you can take part in the many conversations, polls and online collaborations that are fostered through LinkedIn. Really the choice is yours and that's what's fabulous about it. Many groups are private and you have to request a membership (which are usually granted) or they are open to everyone. But it's worth checking out groups that you might relate to either by area of interest or geographic location.


I know I have been approached by stakeholders in my jurisdiction through LinkedIn, people who've asked for info on social media during emergencies or on how to connect with other professionals. That kind of forum, this online agora, makes LinkedIn valuable to me and so its sits at #5 on my top 25 list of SMEM destinations.


Here's a cool video about LInkedIn Groups:




The list so far:
#5: Linkedin Groups ... groups on EM and SM on LinkedIn#6: Craig Fugate and FEMA
#7: the SocialMedia Examiner website
#8: Emergency Management Magazine
#9: Chief Bill Boyd's blog: It's not my emergency! 
#10: SM4EM. org and Cheryl Bledsoe
#11: Jeff Phillips, Los Ranchos EM

#12: Sgt Tim Burrows, Constable Scott Mills and the Toronto Police Service 
#13: the weekly #smemchat
#14: 999 Social Media 
#15: Brian Humphrey ... a true pionneer 
#16: ushahidi ... witnessing change and progress in SMEM



Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Because leadership matters: at #6 Craig Fugate

As I was sketching the outline of this post in my head (i tend to do that !), a tweet from @cherylble helped me nail it down ... the tweet linked to this page ... Do you need a social media champion?

The power of the "champion", especially one that is in a position of authority cannot be overstated. That's why FEMA's family of websites, social media platforms and Craig Fugate's own personal Twitter account, sit at number 6 on my list of the top 25 social media in emergency management destinations.


What differentiates Administrator Fugate from other top leaders, is his willingness to listen, learn and engage, particularly through his Twitter account. I've witnessed his desire to talk and dialogue with the SMEM community at the NEMA mid-year conference in Washington DC earlier this year. He sat in the audience, talked to folks but mostly listened ... while his deputy gave a speech ... smart ...


His leadership in pushing for the use of social media in emergency management is made evident by all the work done by FEMA along these lines. Yes, money matters and FEMA has lots of it, but without someone to steer the ship in the right direction ... the results might not be as impressive. 


Just look at the combination of the Ready.gov website, its informative blog, the FEMA twitter account, its Facebook page and a very complete Youtube channel and you get a fully integrated example of social media as preparedness tools.


What distinguishes Craig Fugate from many other senior executives is his belief that while social networks provide organizations with reliable and effective crisis communications and emergency information tools, they can also play a key operational role by helping enhance an agency's response:


So, the top emergency management official in the US put his organization's online outreach efforts at number 6 on my list. Not bad for a government agency!


The list so far:
#6: Craig Fugate and FEMA
#7: the SocialMedia Examiner website
#8: Emergency Management Magazine
#9: Chief Bill Boyd's blog: It's not my emergency! 
#10: SM4EM. org and Cheryl Bledsoe
#11: Jeff Phillips, Los Ranchos EM

#12: Sgt Tim Burrows, Constable Scott Mills and the Toronto Police Service 
#13: the weekly #smemchat
#14: 999 Social Media 
#15: Brian Humphrey ... a true pionneer 
#16: ushahidi ... witnessing change and progress in SMEM

At #7: examining the ins and outs of social media

Social media is about more than tools ... social networks are not communications strategies unto themselves. However, learning how best to select and use social media platforms is critical for PIOs and emergency managers.


One of the most useful sites for me to keep track of the new trends is Socialmediaexaminer.com. The site is full of useful info on emerging tech, tips on the best use of social media ... all useful info that can be adapted by EM folks.


Whether looking at "how to" use SM or describing best practices, the site is a gold mine of relevant info. Have a quick view of the site's founder (Michael Stelzner) talking about which social networks to focus on:





To me, the usefulness of SocialMedia Examiner on getting the basics of social networking and technology, puts it at the 7th spot on my list of the top 25 social media in emergency management destinations.


The list so far:
#7: the SocialMedia Examiner website#8: Emergency Management Magazine
#9: Chief Bill Boyd's blog: It's not my emergency! 
#10: SM4EM. org and Cheryl Bledsoe
#11: Jeff Phillips, Los Ranchos EM

#12: Sgt Tim Burrows, Constable Scott Mills and the Toronto Police Service 
#13: the weekly #smemchat
#14: 999 Social Media 
#15: Brian Humphrey ... a true pionneer 
#16: ushahidi ... witnessing change and progress in SMEM

Monday, December 19, 2011

Essential reading for emergency managers: EM Mag at #8

My choice for the 8th spot on my list of top 25 smem destinations is a bit unlike my previous selections. The online Emergency Management Magazine is not purely an SMEM entity. However, the growing role of SM in EM is prominently featured on the site.


What makes the magazine particularly interesting to me is the great roster of bloggers in its pages. Whether looking at mobile technologies and social networks as part of the alerting/notification array of tools (Rick Wimberley and Lorin Bristow), or looking at the impact of mobile tech and social networks on crisis communications (Gerald Baron), the bloggers always have something relevant to contribute.


In addition, well-respected Eric Holdeman holds forth on many topics related to disaster management: from leadership, to the impact of new technologies. He's never afraid to express an opinion. 


Finally, the latest addition to this impressive group of writers is Adam Crowe who now specifically comments on the applications of SM in EM.


For the many conversations spurred by these contributors, and for offering the latest news on current EM trends and technologies, Emergency Management Magazine is eighth on my list of the top 25 SMEM destinations. 


The list so far:
#8: Emergency Management Magazine
#9: Chief Bill Boyd's blog: It's not my emergency! 
#10: SM4EM. org and Cheryl Bledsoe
#11: Jeff Phillips, Los Ranchos EM

#12: Sgt Tim Burrows, Constable Scott Mills and the Toronto Police Service 
#13: the weekly #smemchat
#14: 999 Social Media 
#15: Brian Humphrey ... a true pionneer 
#16: ushahidi ... witnessing change and progress in SMEM

Saturday, December 17, 2011

At number 9 on the smem list: a command view to fit the "bill"

You don't necessarily have to be a prolific blogger or contributor to journals to be influential. A case in point, is my choice for #9 on my list of top 25 smem destinations. Chief Bill Boyd of the  Bellingham Fire Dept in Washington State.


What Bill (or Chiefb2  on Twitter) lacks in quantity, is more than made up in quality. The impact of his pronouncements on his blog are felt throughout the entire SMEM community and among first responders from many areas. Here's one taken from his latest post:
Respectful
Don’t diss your customers (listeners)…Period.  The customer is always right…. Unless they are a criminal.  Then,  book ‘em.
His latest post, published earlier this week, caught the attention of many, including that of Sgt Tim Burrows of the Toronto Police Service, himself a noted social media authority (as noted via his standing on this list). Here's what Sgt Burrows had to say about Chief Boyd's post, which he included in its entirety on his own blog:
So here is what got me so excited this morning….not changing a word, comma, spelling.  It is just too awesome just the way it is!!
When Bill talks about social media in emergencies ... he gives his views from a command and an operational perspective and that's very valuable and makes his blog a true destination. To him, the integration of social media into incident management is not something that should wait for official doctrine to catch up ... it's an issue that every first responder and emergency management agency should face head on and address so that they can bridge the gap between the expectations of the public and their own policies and capabilities.


You'd better hear it from the man himself:


Now, that's a refreshing incident commander's take on social media and its imperative to listen, learn and engage ... that's the kind of thinking that has landed Chief Boyd's blog and twitter accounts on the ninth spot on my list of top 25 destinations in the world of smem.


The list so far:
#9: Chief Bill Boyd's blog: It's not my emergency! 
#10: SM4EM. org and Cheryl Bledsoe
#11: Jeff Phillips, Los Ranchos EM

#12: Sgt Tim Burrows, Constable Scott Mills and the Toronto Police Service 
#13: the weekly #smemchat
#14: 999 Social Media 
#15: Brian Humphrey ... a true pionneer 
#16: ushahidi ... witnessing change and progress in SMEM

Friday, December 16, 2011

the mother of SMEM ? in the 10th spot: SM4EM and Cheryl Bledsoe

If my choice (Jeff Phillips aka LosRanchosEM)  for the 11th spot on my list of top 25 smem destinations can be called the "daddy" of the SMEM movement ... then my choice for number 10 can be called (I hope she forgives me!) the "momma".


Cheryl Bledsoe (@CherylBle) has done more than almost anyone else to embody the progress, and potential of, the integration of social media into emergency management programs. She's played a big part in making the Clark Regional Emergency Services Agency (CRESA) a recognized leader among municipal agencies that spearhead the adoption of social media. For more on that, see this post by Kim Stephens on CRESA, as part of her own top smem listing.


Whether through her twitter account and her participation in #smemchat or through her site http://www.sm4em.org/, a true reference, Cheryl helps guide the amorphous smem family through its growing phase. Her tireless efforts to promote the use of emerging technologies to emergency managers is making a difference in many areas. In her "free time" she organizes community events such as the #140 conferences:




For making SM4EM. org a true reference and tweeting so effectively, Cheryl Bledsoe ranks 10th on my list ... and frankly, as with Jeff Phillips, the SMEM movement could not have better parents ...


The list so far:
#10: SM4EM. org and Cheryl Bledsoe
#11: Jeff Phillips, Los Ranchos EM

#12: Sgt Tim Burrows, Constable Scott Mills and the Toronto Police Service 
#13: the weekly #smemchat
#14: 999 Social Media 
#15: Brian Humphrey ... a true pionneer 
#16: ushahidi ... witnessing change and progress in SMEM

Thursday, December 15, 2011

At #11 ... from the land where "apple juice" flows: Los Ranchos

I've met few people who really inspire me to do more. Jeff Phillips, AKA Los Ranchos EM is one of those individuals. Whether tweeting from his own account or as official representative of the Los Ranchos, NM, Emergency Management, Jeff is one of the most trusted voices in SMEM.


The accomplishments speak for themselves. He was a key player behind the SMEM camp at NEMA in Washington this year. A meeting that led to a recent report which sets the stage for greater things for the integration of social media into emergency management programs.
Here's Jeff in action with Heather Blanchard (@poplifegirl) from CrisisCommons and another SMEM luminary:




Perhaps his greatest contribution is his untiring work in laying out and promoting the concept of Virtual Operations Support Group/Team. The VOST/VOSG is being recognized as a key development in the whole SMEM movement:
The Virtual Operations Support Team (VOST)  is an idea that is currently in the development stage and is designed around this concept of outsourcing. The brainchild of Jeff Philips, a SMEM thought-leader, the VOST is designed to help with the tasks of monitoring, archiving and cataloging  social media content during a crisis. One great thing about monitoring social media is that you do not have to be physically co-located with emergency response personnel; monitoring can take place from anywhere, including from a home personal computer. The team Jeff has assembled, via social media of course,  have been testing this concept during conferences with large amounts of twitter traffic (such as the 140 conference)
-- Kim Stephens, IDisaster2.0 Blog post, June 2011

For all his contributions (and he's nowhere near done !) on his own Twitter account or as LosRanchosEM, Jeff Phillips cracks the elite dozen among the top Social Media in Emergency Management destinations.


The list so far:
#11: Jeff Phillips, Los Ranchos EM#12: Sgt Tim Burrows, Constable Scott Mills and the Toronto Police Service 
#13: the weekly #smemchat
#14: 999 Social Media 
#15: Brian Humphrey ... a true pionneer 
#16: ushahidi ... witnessing change and progress in SMEM