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Daniel Stauffacher of ICT4Peace participated on 29 June 2012 in the Policy round table Risk and Crisis Communication and the new social media: Opportunities for international cooperation. This Panel was part of the JOINT OECD/International Risk Governance Council (IGRC) EXPERT WORKSHOP on Risk and Crisis Communication: Opportunities and Challenges of Social Media.

The advent of social media has changed the way that people receive and disseminate information, and how they communicate with one another. Discussions at the High Level Risk Forum began to touch on some new applications of social media in risk and crisis communication, as well as some of the challenges. Governments are in the beginning phases of refining their communication strategies to take advantage of the benefits and to mitigate the risks associated with these new media platforms. This workshop has explored how governments can use, influence and shape social media and social networking for effective and reliable two-way communication in times of crisis. It was both about how social media shape modern communications and how governments can use them for the purpose of improving crisis management. Among the topics for discussion were:

1. How to use social media and social networks for risk and crisis communication, e.g.:

  • Use as an awareness tool (e.g. monitoring social media sites and compiling relevant information);
  • Use as a one-way communications tool (e.g. dissemination of public safety and crisis information; sending out information about upcoming events or campaigns);
  • Use as a two-way communications tool (e.g. engaging with the online community by taking part in conversations via social media tools);
  • Use as a tool to leverage networks as a resource in response efforts, adding functions as time goes on, such as: situational awareness and crisis mapping via crowd-sourcing; receiving requests for assistance; and mobilising citizens to achieve communal goals.

Participants were invited to submit examples of relevant practices in their country.

2. How to manage social media in such a way that it contributes to effective risk and crisis management. Here, participants will be invited to submit examples of relevant policies in their country.

Expert presentations and policy oriented discussions during the workshop focussed on enabling participants to identify opportunities and constraints and ways to remedy to them.

Download the agenda for the workshop here and Daniel Stauffacher's PowerPoint presentation here. The presentation features content and a number of ideas and concepts developed by Sanjana Hattotuwa, Special Advisor, ICT4Peace Foundation, as part of the Foundation's on-going work and input on crisis information management and the use of ICTs in peacebuilding.