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American Red Cross is Social Media Leader

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American Red Cross is Social Media Leader

arcWhen it comes to emergency preparedness with social media, I dare to say, the American Red Cross (ARC), is a pacesetting leader. My claim is based on the fact ARC uses social media comprehensively across all the phases of emergency management. With a quick browse around, I found out that ARC is using facebook, flickr, social vibe, youtube, linkedIn, twitter and blogging to get the word out.

First, it is hard to dispute the fact that ARC knows how to mobilize its base using social media. Few organizations in the field of emergency preparedness can boast of having over 1000 fans. ARC has 83, 018 fans as of today July 22, 2009. This is amazing because this is social capital at fingertips. It can be deployed for emergencies at short notice.

I see ARC ‘s comprehensive use of social media as prove of the fact that the organization forward-thinking and values the people that work/volunteer for the organization.  The fact that ARC has a youth blog and social vibe is telling of the fact that the organization is not only well-informed, but also well positioned to embrace change while others are stagnating.

Arising Questions:

Is the investment in social media appropriate in multiple areas?

Yes, in my view, it is absolutely important because every single media tool has a particular demographic that uses it as a matter of preference. For example when ARC uses youth blog, I find that very insightful, because they want to reach the youth with a targeted message. This is crucial in public engagement.

Is it not a waste of time that could be put into volunteering?

No. Absolutely not. Social media can strengthen the organization ‘s feedback loop through the commets that members provide and the fact that social me strengthen internal and external resiliencies of the team.

By going for multiple tools that focus on different groups, I think that ARC is doing an enviable job that soone or later other crisis management agencies will need their advice.

By Gideo F. For-mukwai,CEM

Emergency Management Trainer and Speaker