Why Public Safety Authorities Must Look Before They Leap With Social Media
It is not good enough to just embrace social media without thinking through what you want to achieve it. There is no doubt that every state, county or city needs some element of social media to be able to tap into the issues that average citizens face.
I believe that public safety authorities need social media to build social capital is absolutely critical in building community. Social capital helps communities in building stronger and healthier relationships based on trust. Trust is an asset of critical survival during times of a disaster.
Learn the Tools
The best way deal with social media is to learn the tools and the way to get optimum benefits from these tools. Some social media tools require customization to give your city a unique identity. Thus, before engaging in Twitter, take time to learn how to use twitter applications that help you get the best out of micro-blogging.
Examine Competitors’ Footprints
Another option is to examine the footsteps and footprints of your competitors and collaborators. You will be amazed to see how other jurisdictions are using social media in engaging the public in a conversation. Some cities like LA are using Twitter, Facebook and blogs to get the word out about their public programs.
Ask for Advice
It cost nothing to ask questions. Before implementing or integrating a particular system, it is important to seek the wisdom of the crowd or those with whom you are working. Find out what most of the people in your area are using. If it is Facebook, then, it makes sense for you to set up an account that enables you to relate to them before, during and after a disaster.
Peek into Trends
It is of no point investing time and resources into a social media tool that does not have a huge following. For example, when you examine the relative levels of growth and demographics of Facebook and MySpace, you will realize that tools that support photos and videos are continuing to grow significantly.
If you fail to look before you leap, you will leap and trip and fall.