You and your team have defined your high-level social media policy or approach. During the planning phase, you should address the specifics of mining social media data during a disaster. An all-hazards approach means your plans would apply to multiple types of incidents.
Gather social media account information, key e-mail addresses, and phone numbers in a shared database or spreadsheet that all team members can access.
Your sources should be vetted carefully in advance. The people and organizations you follow on social media must have current, accurate information in their feeds.
Formal emergency response agencies and local media are retweeted more often than others (National Academies of Sciences, 2013).
Your organization should establish contact with the most reliable sources before disaster occurs, and understand the procedures for exchanging information with these sources (Barrantes, et al, 2009).
When evaluating sources, consider using the C.R.A.P. Test to decide if information resources are worth including in your list of sources.
There are several tools and features that can be used to make this monitoring more efficient. Within Twitter, for example, you can set up lists of handles to follow, or enter search terms to follow in your feed.
You may want to look for a social media dashboard tool that allows you to combine platforms, lists, sources, and other data into a single, customizable view. This gives you the full picture of social media activity. With a social media dashboard, you have powerful control over what is in your feed.
There are several free and paid tools available. Test at least two before a disaster occurs, to find the one that best meets your organization's needs (Mansfield, 2011). Configuring your dashboards, platforms, etc., ahead of time will allow you to begin scanning social media immediately.
The preparations outlined previously will get you ready for the social media monitoring and analysis phase, but they should not be considered complete. For example, during the disaster, you may discover important new hashtags emerging that enhance your searches. Document and use these.
You may find your team responds to multiple events, such as a hurricane and an earthquake, as happened in 2017. Your document should be set up to manage these multiple events, either with tabs or sections. Consider setting up a separate document completely for each ongoing event.
A checklist for verifying social media content will help you verify the credibility of a social media communication. You should have the checklist ready before disaster strikes.
Here are some questions to get you started building your own checklist:
The author must be a reliable source. If it is not one of your vetted sources, your team should ask some additional questions to assess their credibility.
Even well-meaning people have shared misinformation on social media during a disaster. Sometimes the credibility of information can be verified (or denied) by identifying the location of the content.
Which of the following statements are accurate about planning for social media intelligence? Select all that apply.
Check Your Answer
In this section, we covered the following main points: