Disaster Zone

Community Input via Social Media

Why not include using social media to obtain community input?

by Eric Holdeman / February 9, 2013

Any number of our planning processes used in emergency management have a requirement for community input.  Two that come to immediately to mind are Local Emergency Planning Committees (LEPC) and Mitigation Plans.  


In the past a public meeting is announced via some form of publication, perhaps a public notice in a newspaper, and then staff arrange for the meeting, briefing materials are prepared and committee members are requested to attend.  And--no one from the public shows up.  Everything is packed up and we all go home to our families.  It is duly noted that a public meeting was conducted with a copy of the meeting announcement included in the documentation.  


I've even hear a staffer say something like, "No one showed up and that made it easy!"  After all, public input can get in the way of what we want to do and how we want to do it.


Another alternative is developing, that being the use of social media to obtain public input.  See what Governing Magazine wrote about Iceland did with gaining public input for a rewrite of their constitution, Iceland Writes the World's 1st Crowdsourced Constitution



There is no reason we can't also use crowdsourcing to engage the public on any number of fronts.  Rather than rejoicing that there is no public input to our decisions we need to work to tap into the creativity and engagement that comes from partnering with the ultimate source of who we serve.