Social media in crisis events: Open networks and collaboration supporting disaster response and recovery

Paper for the IEEE International Conference on Technologies for Homeland Security (HST): “Large-scale crises challenge the ability of public safety and security organisations to respond efficient and effectively. Meanwhile, citizens’ adoption of mobile technology and rich social media services is dramatically changing the way crisis responses develop. Empowered by new communication media (smartphones, text messaging, internet-based applications and social media), citizens are the in situ first sensors. However, this entire social media arena is unchartered territory to most public safety and security organisations. In this paper, we analyse crisis events to draw narratives on social media relevance and describe how public safety and security organisations are increasingly aware of social media’s added value proposition in times of crisis. A set of critical success indicators to address the process of adopting social media is identified, so that social media information is rapidly transformed into actionable intelligence, thus enhancing the effectiveness of public safety and security organisations — saving time, money and lives.”