Myspace and DHS announce hurricane awareness partnership
| 09.05.2008 | 07:39:59 | Views: 11643 | ID:
September 5 '08: As Tropical Storm Hanna heads toward the East Coast, federal emergency officials have announced a new partnership to spread information to the more web-focused populations who could be affected by severe weather. Agence France-Presse reported that officials at the Department of Homeland Security have partnered with the creators of Myspace to develop a widget that can link users to information about hurricanes, flooding, severe weather or other emergency alerts.
AFP reported, "The application meshes naturally with social networking pages on which people share pictures, videos, stories and news quickly with loved ones." Social networks have begun to play larger roles in emergency response and recovery operations. Additionally, even groups like firefighters have established their own social networks which focus specific information into social groups.Furthermore, for public/private partnership initiatives, websites like Change.org provide an avenue "to translate people's interest into a social issue action," Ben Rattray, the founder of Change told Wired Magazine in an interview. In recent past, social networking has helped emergency response during the Minneapolis I-35 bridge collapse and the VA Tech shootings. According to the Roanoke Times students at VA Tech used their Facebook and Myspace profiles to update information for their families when phone lines jammed. And in Minneapolis, citizens on the scene when the bridge collapsed sent videos and pictures to first responders and the city, state and federal emergency managers who were coordinating the response. According to Tech Crunch, the Myspace widget "helps people locate victims by directing them to FEMA's National Emergency Family Registry and Locator System, allows people to make donations, and tracks the approach of Hurricane Hanna. It will be available in both English and Spanish." APF reported Several weeks ago, DHS reached out to Myspace to 'understand how the power of social media could be used in crisis situation,'" AFP quoted Hemanshu Nigam, chief security officer for Myspace. "It's powerful and it's using the power of the Web 2.0" Nigam continued. "It's sharing and connecting in a time of crisis when it matters most; the thought of creating an emergency alert system for the digital world." National Blueprint Tags: Communication & Public Information P3.
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