According to Ahbi Nemani, blogger on Code for America, there are some interesting lessons identified from the NYC´s encounter with hurricane Irene. Read his Technology in a Hurricane story at www.codeforamerica.org.
Firstly, the NYC.gov website was optimized to withstand heavy traffic during the critical time when many people looked for insights, information and advice. They optimized the website by reducing its size allowing the webpages to load faster and by that being able to serve more visitors. How many organizations have such “optimizing” prepared for their own websites?
Secondly, Ahbi highlights that it is now no longer the case that only government agencies that have a role to share information in times of a crisis. It is nowadays everyones responsibility. Ahbi quotes Alex Howard of O’Reilly Radar that says: “In this information ecosystem, media, government and citizens alike will play a critical role in sharing information about what’s happening and providing help to one another.” Ahbi argues that the use of social media during hurricane Irene was a good proof of this.
From my Swedish perspective, I can only agree.
Those days are over when government agencies had a “crisis information monopoly”. We must now in a fast pace reform how crisis communication is done in Swedish government agencies.
A key role in such work is the brilliant people at MSB working with Krisinformation.se. They have experience, they are motivated and they have a position making them very suitable for educating and motivating local, regional and national government agencies to establish unidirectional communication structures between citizens and governments.