As we approach 35000 visits to this blog and the single largest traffic day in the past two years with 1200+ unique visitors, I wanted to share some thoughts about the direction of the site.
Originally when I started blogging , I was interested in looking at the application of geographic information systems and mapping to the disaster response and emergency management context. Over time, I’ve learned a few key lessons about disaster communication that will guide where we go from here. Nature abhors a vacuum and good old fashioned journalism combined with critical thinking provides an opportunity to answer the questions that so many people are asking.
On peak days, most of the volume is driven to this site not by Twitter or Facebook but by everyday web searches like Google, Yahoo & Bing. People are looking for answers to the events theyve seen unfold in the world around them.
Likewise when media (mainstream media or social media) or officials exaggerate or provide erroneous information people notice. A great example of this is a tweet I just saw from Jason Prentice: “‘So, NBC Nightly News leads with Texas tornadoes “Out of Nowhere” while @CBSNews has accurate stat on 26 minute lead time. Who wins?'”
In the world disaster response people have long memories – people remember when you mess up. People remember when you didn’t do your homework. People search out more trustworthy sources when you’ve you proven to be untrustworthy in the past. And finally, when you can’t give people the answers they’re looking for they will go search for other sources even if that doesn’t paint a complete picture.
That brings me back to the purpose of the site. I share thoughts and ideas in order to stimulate discussion. If that process helps people to engage with the world around them and help people to ask questions that help solve disaster management challenges then I’ve done my job to contribute to the dialogue.
Did you find an article interesting? If so, I encourage you to share with people around you. Start talking about the ideas and thoughts – ask questions, because it is through that process that we will find the answers to many of our disaster management challenges.
With that said, I want to thank you again for your support and for taking time to read the articles on this site.