|Communications in Social Media emergency era|
Why rumours spread on #ardevalencia fires: from lack of monitoring to rumour spreading
Lack of coordination between those who were in charge of social media during Valencia fires seems to me the main reason why rumours spread so quickly during the incident. But it wasn't the only one. When there isn't an official and trustworthy source of infomation, neither a single message nor a credible spokeperson, what we must face is counter criticism. But how can we fight rumour when no one is listening to social media and local authorities are not monitoring them? How it is possible to trust oficial sources when the infomation delivered is neither coordinated nor accurate?
The messages delivered by what we could considered the offical sources mixed everything, from the chainsaws that no authority asked for in Carlet to the 902 phone number that @CruzRojaEsp added to one message and people included since then in every tweet they send, as well as the combination of these two factors, causing confussion everywhere. Why did all this mess-up kept going for at least three days? Probably because no one was monitoring social media nor listening to what was being said.
What the official account of the local government in Valencia @gva_112cv was doing was pulling data, which doesn't sound that bad, if data were useful. But it wasn't, since they were pulling technichal data, with have no interests to citizens. As in a 1.0 world, they were not monitoring social media but releasing not useful information through Facebook and Twitter, as in the old days. The same way we used to send press releases using the mass media some years ago, as if the landscape had not changed.
No one was answering to what citizens were saying, as @luisserranor explained so well in this video.
Lack of credibility
Trustworthy can not be achieved on a single day. @gva_112cv didin't have the chance, till now, to face a disaster of this magnitute. I don't know how many people are in charge of that account, but it also seems a fact that they don't count on a VOST to help them. What doensn't work in the ordinary does not work in the extraordinary, and that lack of expertise is probably the reason why no one thought, for instance, of using something like a Usahidi map to locate those places of interest.
We all know what happens when you don't trust the source of information. You seek what you need to know somewhere else, and that is what happens here. It is neccessary to engage with your community by releasing useful information and listening to what they are saying about you, as well as answering their question. Following this path, it would be possible that, when a disaster strikes, you can monitor information through social media and, by delivering a single message, you can become a trusted source of information, capable of coping with the situation and have some chance of being listen to.