Representative Thompson from Mississippi introduced a bill to the House of Representatives for the American Red Cross (ARC) to conduct a pilot research project to better leverage social media in disasters. The language in the bill is fairly vague, but I gather they want the ARC to implement something tangible and then evaluate its usefulness and performance.
A study like this could be very useful to the wider social media in emergency management (SMEM) community. I particularly like how the bill incorporates the use of social media to help deliver response supplies to affected areas, a form of operational intelligence. And social media for operations and intelligence is the next frontier of social media research that will enable disaster decision makers to make better decisions faster and more accurately.
I will be providing feedback on this bill and am curious about others' thoughts. What other components of SMEM should be researched? Will this be useful to you? How so?
You can track the bill here. Here are the quick and dirty details of the bill:
Department of Homeland Security pilot program
(a) In general. --
The Secretary of Homeland Security, acting through the Under Secretary for Science and Technology of the Department of Homeland Security, shall conduct a one-year pilot program with the American National Red Cross to research and develop mechanisms for the Department to better leverage social media to improve preparedness and response capabilities, including the following:
(1) The timely dissemination of public preparedness information for terrorist attacks and other disasters.
(2) The delivery of response supplies to affected areas.
Not later than 90 days after completion of the pilot program required under subsection (a), the Secretary of Homeland Security shall submit to the Committee on Homeland Security of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs of the Senate a report on the lessons learned from such pilot program and any plan to integrate such lessons into operations of the Department of Homeland Security.