Social Media Forum for Preparedness and Emergencies

On 7 April 2015, OCHA Philippines invited communication and information management experts of humanitarian agencies, the government, civil society organizations, the media and other partners to exchange best practices and lessons learned of using social media in emergency preparedness and response.

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  1. Participants shared recommendations on crowdsourcing, data visualization (e.g. micro-mapping and infographics), effective messaging and standardization of social media use including unified hashtags. They also agreed to build on the shared knowledge and more closely coordinate in future emergency response with their collective expertise in social media. Videos and presentations from the forum can be downloaded here.
  2. Professor Alejo “Bingo” Espinosa, citing the work of Patrick Meier of the Digital Humanitarian Network, presented on how crowdsourced mapping via social media and other new technologies including unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have been used to facilitate recent emergency response.
  3. Discussion ensued around the importance of developing a code of conduct for the use of these new technologies to ensure that information gathered is verified and the ethics for its collection and dissemination are respected.
  4. Zak Yuson of Rapper presented on the crisis crowdsourcing of MovePH & Project Agos, which harnesses technology and social media to disseminate critical information to those who need it before, during and after a disaster via interactive alert maps.
  5. The Emergency Response Integration Center (ERIC) in partnership with Rappler and the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) is exploring contingency plans for emergency communication. FireChat or similar off-the-grid instant messaging technologies and the revival of ham radio enable such emergency communication in the absence of signal and power is in place. The challenge is in how different sectors cooperate and organize themselves in using it.
  6. Gil Arevalo of OCHA spoke on the role of social media in community engagement to ensure accountability to the communities affected by disasters.
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