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The LINKS Community: an International Network Looking at the Use of SMCS in Disasters

Rose Marengo and Juliette Vieillevigne, European Organisation for Security

What is the purpose of the LINKS Community?

The purpose of the LINKS Community is multifaceted. On the one hand, it is meant to provide participants with a first-hand insight into the developments of the LINKS project and to offer them the opportunity to closely follow-up on the projects’ research findings and final results. On the other hand, the LINKS Community is used as a platform to harness the exchange of knowledge and ideas related to the use of social media and crowdsourcing for disaster resilience. This knowledge will stem directly from the participants’ expertise in the field. In this regard, participants will be given the chance to actively engage with the LINKS project and its research, for instance as observers in case-based assessments, as contributors to the development and evaluation of the LINKS Framework. Participants will also have the opportunity to collaborate with the LINKS Consortium as well as with each other through workshops and the online LINKS Community Center (LCC). They will ultimately have a determining role in shaping the projects’ final results.

Who can be part of the LINKS Community?

The LINKS Community aims to be a sustainable stakeholder community and builds its strength on the very diversity of its participants. Whether you are a practitioner, a politician, a policy maker, a researcher, an industrial or a citizen (you name it!), the LINKS Community has something to offer. It is open to individuals and organisations actively working with SMCS, engaged in crisis and disaster management or in related fields, as well as to those directly impacted or interested in the use of SMCS in disasters. Participants in the LINKS Community are not only multidisciplinary and coming from different professional backgrounds or schools of thought, but they are also international. If you are well connected at a local or regional level but would like to expand your network and seize opportunities beyond national borders, the LINKS Community can be a real asset for you. 

What will I gain from the LINKS Community?

If you decide to join the LINKS Community, you will become part of an important network of stakeholders which aims to further the information exchange and the sharing of concepts, good practices and lessons learnt related to the uses of SMCS in disasters. By bringing together diverse and multidisciplinary SMCs stakeholders, the Community offers direct access to a plethora of viewpoints. Not only will it give participants the opportunity to broaden their perspectives on the use of SMCS for disaster resilience, but it will also provide them with a platform on which to make their voice heard and discuss with experts in the field. It is important to underline that the LINKS Community is designed, not to be an isolated instrument, but rather to connect with other relevant communities on the EU-level (such as CMINE), and to last beyond the life cycle of the LINKS project. By joining the Community, you will therefore become part of a sustainable network of SMCS stakeholders that will constitute a source of knowledge and learning potential for any enterprise that you may want to lead in the future looking at SMCS, disaster resilience and crisis management. Last but not least, you will gain access to resources such as learning materials (via the LINKS Framework) related to SMCS, which include guidelines, ad-hoc training for practitioners and tools to use with your local community.

How has the LINKS Community been so far imagined?

The Community will be organised around two key components: the LINKS community center (LCC) and the LINKS community workshops (LCWs). The LCC will act as a platform, allowing all stakeholders involved in the LINKS Community to access project information and results, such as the learning materials that will be embodied in the LINKS Framework. This will include guidelines on the uses of SMCS, ad-hoc procedures both at a national and at a European level, a catalogue of tools on for instance how to filter information shared via SM, tools, games and trainings for different stakeholders, best practices on how to build more inclusive communities through SMCS, lessons learned on risk and crisis communication, etc.  The LCC will also allow participants to provide feedback to the consortium and to share their views and ideas with each other. The LCWs aim to foster the sharing of experiences and knowledge among key stakeholders. They will be used by the LINKS consortium to gather information and to evaluate project results. They will therefore give the community’s participants the opportunity to contribute significantly to the project’s research. Due to the current sanitary situation however, the format of these workshops may vary, and online workshops are to be expected for the foreseeable future.

When will the LINKS Community be implemented?

The establishment and maintenance of the LINKS Community is a continuous effort which aims to last beyond the lifetime of the project. Starting from the fall of 2021, a set of thematic workshops will be organized with relevant participants who are part of the Community. Considering the nature of the LINKS Community however, which aims to benefit both the project and external stakeholders alike, the consortium welcomes suggestions from participants on how they would like to be concretely involved. Such feedback would allow for the construction of a Community based on participants’ needs and ambitions.

I am interested! How can I join?

We are delighted to hear that you are interested in the LINKS Community! Please reach out to us using this link and fill-in the dedicated questionnaire. It will help us evaluate how best you can contribute to the LINKS project, and vice-versa.

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