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Tagging tweets to support Super Typhoon Haiyan volunteers

Social media enhances communication in a crisis. Monitoring Twitter and other social media sites provides situational intelligence that helps improve crisis response and recovery – just look at how it’s being used in the aftermath of Super Typhoon Haiyan.


According to The Wall Street Journal, Patrick Meier, director of social innovation at the Qatar Computing Research Institute, is leveraging social media to help accelerate Haiyan recovery. Meier is using social mapping to help Haiyan volunteers sort through the wealth of disaster-related tweets.


Social mapping enables volunteers to classify tweets by content, making it easier for rescue teams to find critical information quickly. Volunteers can refine their tweets by tagging them with specific keywords, allowing crisis responders to share important updates and accelerate recovery.


Haiyan volunteers can use social mapping to gather situational intelligence and provide rescue teams with detailed maps of affected regions. In addition, this approach enables volunteers to provide status updates during Haiyan recovery efforts, which helps ensure that resources are allocated properly.


Social media and situational intelligence


Communications expert Dr. Robert Chandler points out that social media is a valuable source for timely, accurate information in a crisis, but only if it is harnessed correctly. Like solar power, there must be a way to capture, filter, and analyze social media updates quickly and efficiently.


Twitter has revolutionized how people send and receive updates in a crisis. There are roughly 232 million monthly active Twitter users worldwide, and as more people search for the latest news and information on Twitter, this figure may continue to increase.


Use Twitter to stay informed throughout the lifecycle of a crisis – check out the following tips to ensure that you can receive the latest news and information in a critical situation:


1. Track specific keywords. In a crisis, you’ll want to do everything possible to improve decision-making and response. Monitor specific hashtags and keywords to filter through tweets and learn more about a situation as it develops.


2. Engage in two-way communication. Twitter is an excellent two-way communication source that helps you create a complete picture of an event. Everyday citizens can be your eyes and ears on-the-scene. During a crisis, leveraging two-way communication allows you to increase the quantity and quality of your information.


3. Qualify and analyze updates. Use the right methods and tools to analyze social media updates. By filtering through tweets relating to an incident, you can consistently find accurate information from credible sources.


Social media provides situational intelligence that is crucial to limit the impact of a crisis, or prevent it from happening. Utilize Twitter and other social media sites to improve crisis response and ensure quick, effective recovery.

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