3rd birthdayTomorrow marks the 3 year anniversary of a conversation that started on Twitter and hasn’t stopped.

That’s right, the #SMEM hashtag which has come to mean “bridging the gap between social media and emergency management” will celebrate the fact that not only is the hashtag alive and well, but has brought so many diverse people into this conversation.

As I look back over this 3rd year, we have gone through a number of significant and tragic events.

The short list includes:

And, you don’t have to look very hard to find articles that talk about the significant social media activity involved in all of these significant events.

If you are relatively new to social media, we’re glad that you’re here!

But if you’re still deciding whether social media is important to your emergency management program, click on each of the events listed above to see how social media was involved. It’s time to get learning and figure out how to communicate to your residents using social tools and methods.

As for the #SMEM efforts in year 3, here is a small sampling of the many great #SMEM projects and outcomes:

This year, the National Disaster Training Center delivered a ton of Social Media for Disaster Response & Recovery (PER 304) courses.  If you haven’t seen these courses come to your local jurisdiction, be sure they do.  Many of the trainers who deliver this class have also had a significant role in the #SMEM discussions over the past 3 years.

The development of Virtual Operations Support Teams (VOST) has really gained traction this year. With a number of teams developing here in the United States, there is also significant activity in the countries of New Zealand, Canada and throughout Europe.

This past year,

  • The VOST website was more fully developed by Joanna Lane and contains a number of excellent resources and informative presentations.
  • VOST Leadership Coalition met monthly via teleconference to debrief many of the VOST activations.
  • National VOST Webinar was hosted by the Central Ohio Public Information Network.
  • VOST Field Operations Guide was drafted by Cheryl Bledsoe.
  • VOST Creation Guide was drafted by Mary Jo Flynn.

The Emerging Technology Caucus is a committee within the International Association of Emergency Management.  This group released the following document at their Annual Conference in October which provides some standards for the types of capabilities that should be incorporated into Emergency Operations Centers (EOCs)

The Virtual Social Media Working Group (VSMWG) is appointed by the Department of Homeland Security’s Science & Technology Directorate.  They completed the following documents this past year

Additionally, the #SMEMChat continues to engage people on Twitter each Friday, from 12:30p-1:30p EST and covers a variety of topics in this arena.  Unfortunately, the Twitter API change this past year made archiving the chats a little more challenging. Nevertheless, people still gather and talk each Friday.  It’s a wonderful way to exercise and practice talking on Twitter. So, join today!

Fully knowing that I’m going to miss a few things in this post, please accept my advance apologies and add in other significant activities that you have seen over this past year!

There are so many amazing people who have become a part of the #SMEM community.  As a community which includes volunteers and professionals, technology gurus and the technically challenged (which is where I sit), educators, non-profits, NGO’s, first responders and politicians, we are blessed to have a common interest in using social technologies to respond and recover from crisis.

If you have ever used the hashtag #SMEM to mean “Social Media Emergency Management,” we are thankful for you!

Keep up the AMAZING work and let’s have a fabulous Year 4 together.  Cheers!


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