Columbia news, views & reviews opinion
During emergencies, Americans reach out to social media networking for information.
The American Red Cross knows it. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) knows it and offers a Independent Study program.
“Social media is a new technology that not only allows for another channel of broadcasting messages to the public, but also allows for two way communication between emergency managers and major stakeholder groups. Increasingly the public is turning to social media technologies to obtain up to date information during emergencies and to share data about the disaster in the form of geo data, text, pictures, video, or a combination of these media. Social media also can allow for greater situational awareness for emergency responders.”
Over the past several days, there’s been a state of emergency announced at the Columbia Borough Website. But there’s been an irresponsible breach on the Borough’s social media portal. Citizens wanting emergency information using Internet search applications could find two Columbia Police Department facebook pages (one) – (the other); on neither could they find helpful information about the recent extreme winter weather.
Anyone who “googled” West Hempfield Police facebook. on the other hand, was directed to a “Customer-friendly” site with useful, topical information. So, too, was the Northwest Regional Police Department’s page. And Ephrata’s. Lancaster City’s Department’s site, too, is laced with two-way communication.
Heck, we’ve been told one of Columbia’s elected public servants shares info from the West Hempfield’s Police facebook page on his facebook pages.
C’mon, Mr. Mayor. C’mon, Chief. C’mon Columbia … you can do better.
Communicate with your citizens and the rest of the world. Use your facebook pages to tell people what’s happening during emergencies and other times … openly, truthfully and regularly!