“Plus, see photos of the devastation.”

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Christopher Carr

Christopher Carr does stuff and writes about stuff.

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31 Responses

  1. Avatar Patrick says:

    I’d like to see your presentation.Report

    • Avatar Christopher Carr says:

      Putting something together is definitely on my list of things I need to do (a long list, admittedly). If you’re interested, look at my Facebook wall (we’re friends, I believe) from March 11, 2011. You’ll discover a general trend of us figuring out what’s going on well in advance of the media (and with far more accuracy). At first I was thinking that book format would be best for everything, then the offer of a presentation came up and that actually made more sense to me, but now I’m thinking of making a multimedia presentation, kind of like a documentary, that touches on exactly how social media was beneficial in my case and how I believe it can be beneficial in the future.

      FWIW, I don’t think there is anything holding social media back from being the ideal outlet for dissemination of information. If information exists, it will be filtered and disseminated via social media faster and more accurately than any other method. The key is coordinating the official disaster supply response – the “matter” response – with the information response – the “electromagnetic” response that now exists because of the Internet.Report

  2. Avatar Burt Likko says:

    Thanks for showing a picture of the Philippines at their best, and not taking lurid pictures of Japan at its worst. This post is a great reminder of the importance of dignity.

    You should press forward with your presentation anyway. Have it handy and be able to present it. People will be interested. I know I am.Report

  3. Avatar T. Greer says:

    If you put it on you-tube I would watch it.Report

  4. Avatar Rod says:

    That’s just bizarre, not to mention rude as hell, just to kick you out with no explanation. Makes me wonder if the good doctor has some “issues”.Report

    • Avatar Damon says:

      More likely Chris’ presentation didn’t line up with the “official point of view”, was most likely opposite of that, and the guy decided then and there that punt as it didn’t serve to further the ends of the bureauracy.Report

      • Avatar Rod says:

        You’re likely correct and it’s a stupid and shortsighted response. A number of public agencies–police departments and such–have figured out how to use social media to efficiently disseminate information in an emergency situation.

        Even so, I just don’t understand the attitude she displayed. I mean, if she thought his presentation wasn’t appropriate for some reason, then fine. But why not be at least polite about it?Report

  5. Avatar krogerfoot says:

    I work with a lot of kids from the Philippines here in Tokyo. A huge chunk of their country was creamed, and there’s still no way to get much information about people there. I think about my own anxiety here, looking on from afar during 9/11, Katrina, and various Gulf Coast hurricanes and hoping to God not to hear the worst, and just try not to say anything stupid, just tell them, you know, I’m pulling for you guys.

    I would also like to see that presentation. Social media turned out to be a godsend after the earthquake—where to get stuff, who’s nearby if you’re stranded, who’s okay but needs water, baby food, etc. I would have predicted a moronic inferno, an avalanche of stupid and harmful jabbering, especially from us gringos here, but people held it together for the most part.Report

  6. Avatar North says:

    What a fascinating but baffling story? I share your confusion at Weisslinger’s astonishing rudeness. Surely it couldn’t have been about the lack of pictures could it? If it was kudos on taking the high road.Report

  7. Avatar J@m3z Aitch says:

    Not to make an ideological point, and certainly not to critique the critical role of government in responding to crises like this, but we had a brief discussion a day or two ago about spontaneous (or emergent) order. Chris’s description of the importance of social media for “for uncovering misinformation, for staving off panic, and for directing aid to the right places,” is actually a perfect example of emergent order and how incredibly powerful it often is. In an ideal disaster response situation both government (top-down) order and emergent (bottom-up) order work well well together, responding to each other while each fulfilling the different types of roles to which they are best suited.

    I wonder about the level of social media penetration, and its consequent effectiveness, in a poorer nation like the Philippines, as compared to a highly developed country like Japan. How many lives might be saved simply by having more Facebook accounts? How many lives in New Orleans might have been saved if Hurricane Katrina had struck just a few years later?

    I’m pretty anti-social media myself. I don’t get Twitter and have no interest in participating, I killed my Facebook page a few years back because I never used it, etc. But Chris makes me realize that underlying all the mindless chatter that permeates social media, we’ve collectively–without intending to–created a powerful tool for aiding in crisis response. It’s a tool that people will not have to rediscover, or search out, or figure out how to use when crisis strikes, because it’s such an integral part of their daily lives that they will use it automatically, without a moment’s hesitation.

    How awesome is that? Am I behind the curve on recognizing this, or is this something we’re all just about to start recognizing?Report

    • Avatar Kim says:

      You’re both behind the curve and in front of it.

      I’m disliking the term “emergent order” honestly.
      I think it implies both more stability, and more
      structure than actually exists.Report

      • Avatar Will H. says:

        That only demonstrates your own proclivity of thought.
        ‘Order’ is a matter of degrees, and need not imply a semblance of wholeness.
        Like the Empire State Building was still the Empire State Building while it was under construction.
        ‘Order,’ like ‘Building,’ can be taken two ways.
        Rather than suspend belief to await confirmation, you take the leap.
        Nothing wrong with that, in itself.
        But better to be mindful of those not leaping so in your freefall.Report

      • Avatar Kim says:

        Will,
        I think my discomfort stems from this being merely a facet of emergent behavior,
        one in which the rules are structured so as to give an optimal strategy.

        James,
        I wonder if you couldn’t get some insight by using some genetic propagation algorithms?
        You could reasonably easily establish the perceived “importance/weight” of a particular meme. Naturally you’d have to control for immediacy (new info gets passed more than old, even if it’s of relatively low worth)…
        And, perhaps, you have certain people who are “good propagators” — either because
        they bridge friend-networks, or because they’re trusted, etc.Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch says:

        I’m disliking the term “emergent order” honestly.

        By the way, I didn’t make that up. It’s a well-established term in both biology and among those who call themselves complexity theorists, and a lot of economists who are more familiar with the term spontaneous order are–I think–starting to use it as well.

        Sometimes you just gotta go with the flow, if nor no other reason than so that everyone knows what the hell you’re referring to, and you don’t end up like the two bird fanciers who were arguing over whether a quarrion or a cockatiel is the best pet.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

        I’m disliking the term “emergent order” honestly.

        By the way, I didn’t make that up

        No one did, it just, umm, … (dammit, I know there’s a word for that.)Report

      • Avatar Glyph says:

        There’s also “emergent disorder” or “entropy”, AKA “s**t happens.”Report

      • Emergent disorder is poop on the ground. Emergent order is the poop decomposing or whatever and turning into fertilizer so some plant or crap can grow.

        No, I don’t have a degree in the sciences. Why do you ask?Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch says:

        Damn, Mike. You don’t know how jealous I get.Report

    • Avatar Michael Drew says:

      Social networks are already powerful; social *media* are just and only that – media that strengthen and enhance the communicative links in social networks. We err to problematize social media much more than that. How powerful was the telegraph and then telephone in strengthening social network (and institutional/top-down, for that matter) connectivity across great or even vast distances? Twitter is little more than a free (for now), individual telegraph system wherein the messages are public by default, with a private channel always available between any users who have established a link with each other (i.e. “Follow” each other). It’s pretty much that simple. It’s an old-fangled style of communication made semi-universal on a newfangled platform. Of course it’s a power multiplier in social networking. The message format, which people seem to get so hung up on, isn’t what defines the character and power and utility of the medium, nor what gets communicated through it: what defines that is its well-suitedness to bringing social network connectivity up to the speed at which life is lived in this era (even in the Philippines). Complex information is shared, and more to the point developed, via iteration rather than exposition. Perhaps a certain way of apprehending conceptual complexity is lost in that environment; perhaps other ways are gained.

      I’ll stop now. Sorry, I don’t mean to pile on. But yes, this is what the crazy prophets have been saying all along. Calling Cairo 2011 the “Twitter Revolution” (which I think some people did) was certainly massively hyperbolic and I thought it was stupid at the time (which before I was quite so converted, though after I had put my feet in the water), but it wasn’t without any basis in reality.

      I have less use for Facebook. If I want to know what games my friends are playing with their kids in the back yard, I’ll arrange to go over for a visit or pick up the phone. Twitter’s a different animal, IMO. I’m not totally sure why Facebook didn’t become what Twitter is, but it didn’t. I suspect it has to do both with design and with the the nature of the social networks it evolved to serve.

      This is not a pitch, btw. It’s a description. Twitter can absolutely just not be any given person’s thing, but it is what it is.Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch says:

        Social networks are already powerful; social *media* are just and only that – media that strengthen and enhance the communicative links in social networks….Of course it’s a power multiplier in social networking.

        I think you hit the nail on the head. Well said.Report

      • Avatar Michael Drew says:

        Thanks. It’s cool to see in others recognition of the enhanced social structures created by this utility emerge from an understandable initial focus on the format; that was exactly my experience as well.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq says:

      I see social media has beening an auxurillary to the government when it comes to disasters rather than a displacement. What it does is inable quick information gathering on what happened where and who needs what and hopefully keep things as calm as possible. You still an organization that could marshall manpower and direct aid to the affected areas and keep law and order if things get out of hand.Report

      • Avatar J@m3z Aitch says:

        I see social media has beening an auxurillary to the government when it comes to disasters rather than a displacement.

        Did that not come through clearly in my comment? I meant it to, in case it didn’t.Report

    • Avatar Rod says:

      One practical point to consider: Have you seen pictures of Taclindo [sp?]? I would be amazed if the cell network survived.

      Perhaps this is a job for “disaster IT”. Go in there and quickly deploy a mesh network of portable battery-powered/solar cell nodes and wi-fi hotspots.Report

    • NobAkimoto NobAkimoto says:

      You’re not behind the curve, maybe a little bit ahead of it. I’ve been talking to a friend who does disaster management and relief work as a specialty, and we’ve been tossing around ideas of how to tap the Austin startup/IT community to refining the tools on the upper end, so that the top-down management can better interface with the bottom up efforts.Report

  8. Avatar Patrick says:

    This is actually a pretty big field of research in the IS/T community.

    Prior to 2000, almost all of the IS/T research in disasters was “we built this information system for this group of formal first responders”. Then we got “we built these information systems so that this formal group of first responder’s information system could talk to this other group’s information system”. Then social media exploded, and you see a lot of papers now about emergent/ad hoc social media responses to large and small scale disasters.

    I’m working on bridging the gap, myself.

    I really, really would like to see your presentation, Christopher.Report

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