The story out of Joplin, Missouri continues to amaze me. From the
tragic tornado, to the incredible response, to the ongoing recovery
(and amazing community that has grown out of that effort), Joplin
continues to set the bar for the twenty-first century emergency cycle.
And aside from the viciousness of the disaster, nothing is more
indicative of that new cycle than how essential Facebook has been to
the response and recovery. I talked a bit about that during our 12
Days of SMEM series,
but this week, the wonderful Kim Stephens gave an update to the
with a guest post by Rebecca Williams that I think truly exemplifies
the effect Facebook has had.
On the timing of setting up Joplin Tornado Info:
The tornado hit at 5:41 p.m. At 7:36 p.m. Joplin Tornado Info Facebook page made its first post, went viral, began connecting dots between needs, resources, transportation, storage and dispersal and had become a trusted, timely news source.
On the use of non-affiliated volunteers to manage the crush:
It all happened so fast and just as fast there were people helping us. Several groups and individuals such as the group of people that went to the computer lab at Crowder College and continuously posted critical information to JTI were unofficial admins of the page and vital to our efforts.
From the beginning we relied on the JTI community to post and repost for the good of the Joplin effort. Jennifer and Michelle both reached out from Alabama that first night to help. Volunteer admins signed on and others just took it upon themselves to help. JTI was a community page and early on people responded. Within hours we also had admins and or points of contact from all of the utility companies.
Relief organizations, Churches and news sources began posting on our site as well. We made every effort to read and answer every post. JTI pages moved so fast at one time that it was necessary to repost vital information often or it became lost in the Facebook newsfeed. We monitored all available news sources and reposted to JTI.
The Williams’, on an associated Tumblr site, recently posted this
great lessons learned document about setting up a crisis information
site in the aftermath of a
Seriously, that link is the meat here if you have any desire to do
something like this or some understanding that you may be called on to
do this work. It is now a standard part of my crisis social media
training, and will be integrated into my Virtual Operations Support
UPDATE: The wonderful folks at JoplinTornadoInfo asked me to pass this document along. It’s a stand-alone document that gives lessons learned, best practices, tools for use as well as background information on both the Joplin AND Branson, MO tornadoes. A big, big recommendation to download and read this thoroughly.