VOST needs and resources: backchannel & public facing resources for #SMEM

VOST needs and resources

VOST needs and resources

I’m one of several VOST members assisting in the development of many new VOST teams this year. As new teams are gear up for wildfire and other possible activations, I thought it would be helpful to discuss the tools and resources that we’ve used from the point of view of the specific needs instead of based on the tool, app or services.

So below is a list of VOST needs, the purpose or reason behind each need, what resources we’ve used previously to meet that need, and what we plan on using soon.

Each VOST team and activation may create new needs and other VOSTs may already be trying out new things; in other words “your mileage may vary”, but hopefully this post and the graphic I built to identify the “backchannel” or non-public resources as opposed to the public-facing resources will be helpful.

Note that some resources are used both for backchannel and for public sharing. Our plans are to build our backchannel resources, then build activation-specific public-facing resources. This is because, as we learned on the Shadow Lake fire activation, we want to make it clear from the start what incident the team is supporting. This can be done by choosing an instance-specific name and using that name for all public-facing tools.

Also note that we are working on developing backup resources for all needs – If you’re building a team, be sure and include backup resources for all needs in your plans and exercises. Sometimes these resources and services go down temporarily, so be ready for that.

And one more note! I reserve the right to update this post as I am sure that my VOSTie friends will remind me that I forgot something : )

BACKCHANNEL RESOURCES

Need: Team or individual activation – emergency or urgent communication
Purpose: Alert team as quickly as possible to an activation or possible activation.
SMS group text messages, individual text messages, or twitter DM messages have been used previously to activate the team or ask them to gather for a discussion.

• Individual SMS Text message

• Group Text Message via regular SMS group text or via GroupMe App

• Individual messages via twitter Direct Message (DM)


Need: Regular ongoing backchannel communications:
Purpose: ‘Offline’ discussions needed to set tasks, clarify issues happening in real time on social media platforms, or other things that don’t need to be discussed in public. Many teams have ongoing regular conversations between activations to keep in touch and discuss new resources, tools and developments. This helps to get people comfortable with each other and the tools/services to be used.

Tools currently used: Skype, Yammer

• Tools proposed: Yammer, GooglePlus

• Tools previously used: Skype, GooglePlus, Yammer

NOTE: There are other backchannel comms tools that meet specialty needs, such as voice chat while driving via HeyTell or Zello apps.


Need: Collaborative Documents
Purpose: Team collaboration on documents for organization, ICS forms or workbook spreadsheets, activity logging, etc…

• Tools currently used: GoogleDocs

• Tools proposed: Box.net, SkyDrive

• Tools previously used: Googledocs, Piratepad


Need: Filesharing
Purpose: Sharing documents, images and anything that the team may find useful to meet its objectives.

• Tools currently used: Dropbox

• Tools proposed:Dropbox, Box.net, Evernote

• Tools previously used: Dropbox, GoogleDocs


Need: Search tools
Purpose:

• Tools currently used: twitter searches, google searches, tweetgrid, monitter, SocialMention, BING social, twitterfall, trendsmap

• Tools proposed: Geosearches, Multiple geosearches in tweetgrid, tweetdeck, hootsuite, twitterfall, etc…

• Tools previously used: Google searches, searches on twitter and facebook tweetgrid, monitter, SocialMention, BING social, twitterfall, trendsmap (some of us set up multiple searches in tweetgrid, Hootsuite, Tweetdeck)


Need: Curation tools
Purpose: Save all useful info such as websites, articles, social media posts, tweets, status updates quickly and easily to one “stream” or place – may be useful to have one for public use and one for private VOST use; public curationsite for providing an ongoing narrative to the event, private curation site to provide context that will help the team keep updated on critical issues.

• Tools currently used: Storify

• Tools proposed: Storify, Pinterest

• Tools previously used: Keepstream (gone), Storify


Need: Image  sharing/storage tools
Purpose: Images help to provide context and tell the visual story of an event. (Images for Shadow Lake Fire VOST instance were very popular and were a large percentage of the blog site visits.)

• Tools currently used: Flickr, dropbox

• Tools proposed: Flickr, (pinterest?) Skitch (for adding text & graphics to a picture)

• Tools previously used: Flickr (fed to WordPress Blog?), Picasa (gone)


Need: Video streaming and sharing tools:
Purpose: Share live stream of meetings, or videos of events.

• Tools currently used: YouTube, Livestream, Ustream, Vimeo

• Tools proposed: Pinterest

• Tools previously used: YouTube, Livestream, Ustream, Vimeo


 Need: Archiving tools (for saving PDFs of website articles, tweets, posts, status updates, etc…)
Purpose: Archiving and for use during activation.

• Tools currently used: GoogleDocs, Rowfeeder, Tweetchat

• Tools proposed: Make PDF then drop via IFTTT to both Evernote & DropBox

• Tools previously used: Rowfeeder, GoogleDocs, TweetChat


Need: Analytics tools
Purpose: To be able to analyze crisidata for future study and improvement.

• Tools currently used:

• Tools proposed: TweetReach, Google Analytics, ?

• Tools previously used: (Needs improvement! We can look at limited WordPress blog analytics from a couple of specific activations, but we haven’t set up analytics tools previously. Hopefully we will get better at this this year, and if you have suggestions for us, we welcome suggestions.)


Need: Automated workflow tools
Purpose: Automate some basic repetitive tasks that can be done automatically – such as when a facebook blog post is made it can be automatically posted as a facebook post and tweeted

• Tools currently used:

• Tools proposed: IFTTT (If This Then That)

• Tools previously used: ( Seems like we had a couple of automated tasks on Shadow Lake instance; will check and report back here.)


 PUBLIC-FACING RESOURCES

Need: Curation tools
Purpose: Save all useful info such as websites, articles, social media posts, tweets, status updates quickly and easily to one “stream” or place – may be useful to have one for public use and one for private VOST use; public curationsite for providing an ongoing narrative to the event, private curation site to provide context that will help the team keep updated on critical issues.

• Tools currently used: Storify

• Tools proposed: Storify, Pinterest

• Tools previously used: Storify, Keepstream (gone)


Need: Image sharing/storage tools:
Purpose: Images help to provide context and tell the visual story of an event. (Images for Shadow Lake Fire VOST instance were very popular and were a large percentage of the blog site visits.)

• Tools currently used: Flickr, dropbox

• Tools proposed: Flickr, (pinterest?) Skitch (for adding text & graphics to a picture)

• Tools previously used: Flickr (fed to WordPress Blog?)


Need: Video streaming and sharing tools
Purpose: Share live stream of meetings, or videos of events.

• Tools currently used: youtube, livestream, ustream

• Tools proposed: vimeo, pinterest

• Tools previously used: youtube, livestream, ustream


Need: blog or website

Purpose: A place at which to post all available resources and tell more of the story than can be told via twitter or facebook

• Tools currently used: WordPress

• Tools proposed:

• Tools previously used: WordPress


Need: Mapping

Purpose: Visual representation of instance, resources, closures, shelters, etc…

• Tools currently used: NIMO maps (NIMO-specific)

• Tools proposed: Ushahidi, googlemaps

• Tools previously used: NIMO maps uploaded to dropbox – placed on Inciweb and instance blog, Google maps


Needs: Platform-Specific Needs (per activation):
Note: Public -facing resources include instance-specific twitter, facebook and other standard social media platforms. Find out what platforms are use most in the area near the disaster and be there.

Instance-specific accounts for:

twitter:

• Main account: @activationname

• Backup account: @activationname2

—–

facebook:

Set up instance specific account as needed

note: check with local community near disaster area to see if a collaboration of facebook is possible  - so far we have set up instance-specific sites


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