Citizen Resiliency – Technology, Local Knowledge, and Learning

Shneiderman (2010) stated that “technology-mediated social participation is generated when social networking tools (such as Facebook), blogs and microblogs (Twitter), user generated content sites (YouTube), discussion groups, problem reporting, recommendation systems, and other social media are applied” to local priorities including disaster response (p.6).”.  Hiltz (2011) believes that one of the “major challenges for crisis management is integrating information during disasters from citizens, using social media, with that of official responders, disseminating messages through channels such as television, radio, SMS, and Internet Web sites (p.18:5).”  Sutton (2008) stated that “opportunities and mechanisms for participation by members of the public are expanding the information arena for disasters.  Social media supports backchannel communications, allowing for wide-scale interactions between members of the public that has qualities of being collectively resourceful, self-policing and generative of information that cannot otherwise be easily obtained (p.7).” 

Tran (2009) finds that using local knowledge in disaster management “enables local communities to participate actively in the decision-making process. Local knowledge is a powerful resource (p.167)” and is a “key element in disaster risk reduction.  Integrating local knowledge into disaster risk management can improve the quality of disaster management plans by providing policy makers and practitioners with deeper insights into many different aspects of disaster vulnerabilities and the interrelated role of local peoples and their cultures (p.168 ).”  Awazu and Desouza (2004) state that the “traditional knowledge management can learn from the open-source revolution (p. 1019)”, and when looked at in the context of disaster management, leads one to conclude that integrating existing pre-disaster data with deploying the “planned serendipity” of community networks use of social media tools may help traditional responders to find new meaning in their data (Majchrzak 2011, p.131).   

Voss (2010) concluded that learning in an institutional setting for extreme emergencies or small town disasters rarely takes place.  Partly because the appearances of citizens, emergent groups, and non-governmental stakeholders response to disasters, may be perceived as a failure by government, public officials often do not take into account in community emergency planning and misunderstand both the reasons behind their emergence and the roles they play in disaster-related community problems (p.657).” Comfort (2002) stated that governmental performance in preventing and adequately responding to disasters could be better served if “an interactive learning process that, while guided by public organizations must involve responsible participation by private and non-profit organizations as well as an informal citizenry” and the entire community becomes engaged in the informed process of risk reduction and response. 

How do you think the combination of technology, local knowledge, and learning from local disasters can help us better prepare for future crises?



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