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ISO 22329 - Guidelines for using social media in emergencies

Effective communication between emergency management organizations (EMOs) and the public is essential, especially during emergencies and disasters. The expediential use of social media in recent years represents a new challenge for organizations who have used traditional media such as television, radio and newspapers. These organizations must now consider how to embrace, utilize and manage social media in order to make strategic decisions, maintain operational awareness, and increase their communication capability.

Worldwide, social media is now a part of everyday life. It is important EMOs recognize both the benefits and the risks inherent in using social media and to include these in their communication strategy. Social media can help improve situational awareness, dispel rumours and help citizens support and connect with each other during an emergency. EMOs need to have the capability to monitor and use social media, take advantage of the potential benefits and provide a safe and reliable platform where legitimate information is kept and shared.

ISO/TC 292 is currently working on a standard called ISO 22329 Security and resilience - Emergency management - Guidelines for the use of social media in an emergency which will provide guidance on how social media can be integrated into and improve all communications during an emergency or disaster.  It can be applied during all phases of emergency management.

The project leader responsable for the developement of ISO 22329, Professor Rainar Koch, explains:Rainar Koch

"Part of good crisis management is always an optimal crisis communication between the involved authorities and emergency services as well as authorities and citizens. Proven and working communication channels are essential for a good crisis response. Next to classical communication channels (like television, radio or newspaper) social media (like Facebook, Twitter or Google+) is becoming more and more important.

These new media are increasingly extending traditional communication channels. Thus, authorities need to face this trend and integrate social media into their work. Such integration may be difficult because authorities have usually few experiences with social media."

What can you do?

This document is in the working draft stage and expected to be circulated for Committee Draft ballot during autumn.You can help to shape the final published version by contacting your country’s national standard organization.