Hashtag Standards For Emergencies

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has released a study in their OCHA Policy and Studies Series titled “Hashtag Standards for Emergencies.”

This short reference provides great context for countries, states, cities, businesses, journalists, emergency responders and citizens and is a document we highly recommend everyone review.

Here are key messages in the document:

  • The public is using Twitter for real-time information exchange and for expressing emotional support during a variety of crises, such as wildfires, earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, political protests, mass shootings, and communicable-disease tracking. By encouraging proactive standardization of hashtags, emergency responders may be able to reduce a big-data challenge and better leverage crowdsourced information for operational planning and response.
  • Twitter is the primary social media platform discussed in this Think Brief. However, the use of hashtags has spread to other social media platforms, including Sina Weibo, Facebook, Google+ and Diaspora. As a result, the ideas behind hashtag standardization may have a much larger sphere of influence than just this one platform.
  • Three hashtag standards are encouraged and discussed: early standardization of the disaster name (e.g., #Fay), how to report non-emergency needs (e.g., #PublicRep) and requesting emergency assistance (e.g., #911US).
  • As well as standardizing hashtags, emergency response agencies should encourage the public to enable Global Positioning System (GPS) when tweeting during an emergency. This will provide highly detailed information to facilitate response.
  • Non-governmental groups, national agencies and international organizations should discuss the potential added value of monitoring social media during emergencies. These groups need to agree who is establishing the standards for a given country or event, which agency disseminates these prescriptive messages, and who is collecting and validating the incoming crowdsourced reports.
  • Additional efforts should be pursued regarding how to best link crowdsourced information into emergency response operations and logistics. If this information will be collected, the teams should be ready to act on it in a timely manner.

For more see: “Hashtag Standards for Emergencies.”

Here at ThreatBrief.com we make use of Twitter to track and report on threats and we most strongly endorse the conclusions of the report.  We also recommend that citizens and businesses periodically review the hashtags of #VOST and #SMEM on Twitter. Those are used to mark the tweets of the community engaged in Virtual Operations Support Teams and those interested in Social Media for Emergency Response.

We provide our CTO Advisory Services clients with unique success-focused capabilities through engagement teams led by the award winning Top 25 Global CTO Bob Gourley. Services include:

Strategic Consulting: Leverage experienced professionals with proven past performance. Our clients include major telecommunications firms, defense systems integrators and IT firms with dramatic, “game changing” technology. We also help highly regulated businesses and government agencies respond to a continuous stream of new mandates for cybersecurity compliance.

CTO Outsourcing and CTO-as-a-Service: Our model provides highly qualified, experienced Chief Technology Officer (CTO) or Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) leadership on your staff to manage and lead your technology partners, developers, engineers and IT support. We offer part-time, full-time, retained and hourly services. We also provide compliance services.

Technology Research: Our experts in technology can assess the relevance of technology prior to investment and prior to you bringing the capability into your enterprise. We prepare customized briefings on technology and provide context on IT focused on your needs.

Due Diligence:We support private equity firms, venture capital, and businesses looking to acquire other businesses. We can also help independently verify and place into context the discriminators of technologies in the firms you are considering.

Cybersecurity and CISO-as-a-Service Crucial Point provides architecture reviews and action plans for enhancing cybersecurity. We also provide analysis of solutions and products and strategies associates with cybersecurity, including market potential analysis, product offering development and marketing/messaging creation.

Government Market Evaluation and Support: We serve high tech companies who want to do business with the government. We can assist you in flattening the learning curve and will help you produce a winning strategy.