Access the Knowledge of the Crowd Through Social Media

Our times seem to be driven by emergency situations now more than ever before. We seem to be experiencing political unrest and geophysical disruptions at an accelerated rate. I have no scientific data to support this at this time. But, I believe some would agree with the assumption that the last millennium may have been relatively calm compared to what lies in front of us. (stress the word ‘relatively’)

Through these times, we may be comforted to remember that we are on a path to perfection. That path is a rocky one because often the old has to be broken down before the new can be built up.

Regarding the political unrest I mentioned, Social Media may be playing a part in accelerating and enabling the human desire for liberty. Human Nature is erupting on her own. But in both cases, Social Media can have a significant role to play in the processes  of Emergency Management. (Mitigation, Preparedness, Response, Recovery)

Gerald Baron writes on “Why Incident Commanders need to pay attention to this “social media thing”. He states that “Conversations don’t occur through the media. But they do through interactive web site, social media channels, email and text interchanges, phone and direct meetings.” The people getting us critical information need to accept this as the current reality.

Unfortunately, and all too often, traditional media methods are still being relied upon by individuals in key roles. This is the case in business and personal safety. Social Media needs to be folded into the processes.

Tools for communities to crowdsource real-time information using SMS, email, Twitter and the web are being developed and reaching maturity. An Open Source example is Swift River based on the Ushahidi Platform. Mr. Baron mentions Swift River in his article. I was not familiar with Swift River before this and have no personal experience with it at this time.

According to their information;

“In practice, SwiftRiver enables the filtering and verification of real-time data from channels such as Twitter, SMS, Email and RSS feeds… This free tool is especially useful for organizations who need to sort their data by authority and accuracy, as opposed to popularity. These organizations include the media, emergency response groups, election monitors and more. This might include journalists and other media institutions, emergency response groups, election monitors and more.”

I would like to pursue its benefits to business, which would seem to be possible, but not stressed in their information.

This is an exciting time because we are developing the ability to access the power and knowledge of the crowd. The quicker we master this ability, the more we will be able to accelerate our way to perfection and survive the events in between.

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