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Using Social Media Networks for Informal Communication

Encourage informal information sharing via social media networks to empower citizens

Photo of Caleb Zimmerman
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EXPLAIN YOUR IDEA

Informal communication is important in both day-to-day life and during emergencies. Social media networks, such as Twitter, are designed to encourage this informal sharing among disparate groups of people. Without a formal way to reach each household in an urban environment, social media networks can bridge this gap. Programs such as Twitter Alerts (https://about.twitter.com/products/alerts) are designed to inform people during emergencies and are already being used by nonprofit organizations and governments. By expanding access to urban slum environments, people on the ground can help share updates quickly and cheaply. The Red Cross is already utilizing this technology: http://mashable.com/2012/03/07/red-cross-digital-operations-center/#a36r84JGVkqS

WHO BENEFITS?

Residents of urban slum communities, humanitarian aid organizations, governments and news media can all benefit from faster access to information shared via social media networks. In emergencies, coordination can happen quicker among different entities and during day-to-day life, all parties can easily monitor events, requests and news updates.

HOW DOES YOUR IDEA TAKE INTO ACCOUNT THE CONTEXT OF URBAN SLUMS AND CLIMATE CHANGE?

The idea is based on the fact that so many different organizations, entities and actors work within urban environments and may not communicate among each other. By hosting informal, public conversations on a social network it can encourage collaboration and faster information sharing. As climate change impact weather patterns and other events, sharing information via social network can continue even if people are displaced. This idea is meant for both ordinary and extreme scenarios, adopts to the shift patterns of daily life, requires no new products and allows equal access for all.

IN-COUNTRY EXPERIENCE

  • Not yet

EXPERTISE

  • I’ve worked in a sector related to my idea for at least two years

GEOGRAPHIC FOCUS

  • This idea is meant to inspire - I hope someone else takes it on!

TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF

I work in communications for a nonprofit called InterAction, based in Washington, DC. We are the largest alliance of international nonprofit organizations in the U.S. I also have professional experience in social media, advertising and marketing. I welcome any collaborations or builds on my idea.

Inspired by (1)

OpenSlum

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Photo of Shane Zhao
Team

Nice one Caleb and great to see you in this challenge! Thanks for the share on Red Cross's Social Media Disaster Response Center. Have you considered how this strategy can be adapted to slum communities with limited access to smart-phones and internet collectivity? It'll interesting to explore cases where standard mobile phones are being leveraged to collect and broadcast emergency info. Here's a related thought starter to check out: https://challenges.openideo.com/challenge/urban-resilience/ideas/slumdogs-mobile-data-collection-for-better-communication-and-planning