Category Archives: Dennis McDonald

More on Social Media and Disaster Response from Dennis McDonald

Here are further thoughts from Dr. Dennis McDonald of Alexandria, VA, on how social media applications for disaster response. He clearly (but gently) identifies the gap in knowledge of those preparing for large scale response at the government level and the actual adoption of social media applications within the general public.

Dr. McDonald is establishing himself as a seminal thinker in this important field of bringing information technology to bear on the challenges of disaster planning, response and public information management.

How the media contributes to a "state of fear" following a national tragedy

Here’s an interesting blog post from Dennis McDonald, reporting on a study of social attitudes following the Virginia Tech tragedy. The vodcast with Dr. Jim Breckinridge highlights how the media–both MSM and new media–contribute to fear and anxiety.

I haven’t viewed the vodcast yet, but what I find interesting is the comment about how the fears resulting from this spill over to other agencies such as the US Coast Guard.

It also raises the question I am most intrigued with which is social responsibility of those influencing others whether MSM or new media. When the goal is attracting an audience to sell ads via broadcast or google ads, how much does social responsibility come into play in making decisions as to how events like this are covered. My suggestion is very little. But the alternative of legislating moral or social responsibility is repugnant to me. How do we get people to care when they have the power to build audiences?

School communication, social media sites and current thinking

Here is an excellent paper by Dr. Dennis McDonald
about school communication. Virginia Tech continues to be a driving force in people’s thinking about communication and particularly mass notification. As I commented today to a reporter from PR Week, this event perhaps more than any other since 9/11 demonstrates the huge shift to a post media world. Every day the expectation is increasing of direct communciation vs mass communication through traditional media. Isn’t it astounding to look at the criticism leveled against the administrators that they did have the capacity to simultaneously alert thousands of people with an instant and direct message? And since that event, that expectation has multiplied many times over. It is not just university administrators who are scrambling to come up with ways to meet this new kind of direct and instant demand. It is anyone who is in the public safety business.

McDonald’s paper focuses on the use of social media sites. As crisisblogger readers will note, this is something I have commented on several times in the past. Indeed, the technology we provide for mass direct communication, is used to push info to social media sites and we now consider it one of the many important distribution modes.

The world of public information management gets more complicated and challenging every day. Thanks Dr. Mcdonald for helping address some very important issues.