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Strategic Planning for the Use of Social Media and Crowdsourcing in Disasters: Updates on the LINKS Framework

The LINKS Framework is now in its second phase of development. The Framework is being developed to help disaster management organizations (DMOs) concentrate on what is important when considering the application of social media and crowdsourcing (SMCS) in disaster management processes. It is also used to help DMOs in addressing specific themes (e.g. engaging with citizens) in relation to SMCS in their work. The Framework supports strategic thinking and can be used as a tool for planning by DMOs on how they can apply SMCS in all phases of disasters. 

It consists of valuable resources, including actionable products for different target groups, such as a handbook for better involving citizens, and different sets of libraries to explore technologies, guidelines, and examples on how SMCS have been applied in disasters. The products will be accessible through various entry points in the LINKS Community Center (LCC: 

In this newsletter, we focus more on the “plan strategically” entry point. For this entry point, the LINKS Framework is depicted metaphorically as a compass aiming to support navigation and orientation related to two main themes: engaging with citizens and improving communication. Practically, this means guiding users towards relevant SMCS knowledge and resources, related to each theme and sub-themes. For each of the main themes, three sub-themes have been identified.

The identified theme “Engaging with Citizens” aims to enable DMOs to better engage with citizens, orienting action plans through the compass towards three aspects of particular relevance and for which we can provide specific products: 

  • Collecting and analysing information from SMCS through technologies that can help in, e.g., filtering data and/or gaining a more accurate common operational picture.  
  • Mobilising volunteers, specifically how to mobilise spontaneous and affiliated volunteers who can support DMOs.
  • Mobilising citizens, specifically how to engage with local communities to contribute to the disaster risk management system, e.g. becoming controllers/overseers/communicators in crises. Potential obstacles to mobility can also be addressed. 

For the theme “Improving Communication”, DMOs can orientate the compass and navigate three aspects contributing to developing and/or refining their communication strategies using social media. As for the previous theme, we can provide products for: 

  • Targeting communication, especially ensuring that communication is as inclusive as possible and all groups, including the most vulnerable, are considered.
  • Ensuring the quality of information, entailing, for instance, issues related to the credibility and reliability of the information. 
  • Making information accessible, namely how to improve accessibility to information in disasters through SMCS. 

The Framework is being developed to provide guiding questions for each sub-theme. These are conceived as pre-defined learning paths that will be embedded in the LCC. The content which informs the themes and learning paths is derived from the overall LINKS knowledge base.

The knowledge base and resources in the Framework are still in the development phase. Their ongoing development relies on inputs from the evaluation processes within the LINKS cases and the broader DRM community.

To know more, read our deliverable:

Links Project