Social Media as well as traditional Mass Media (news on TV) dedicate at least 20 per cent of their time to broadcast information concerning catastrophes. Why are they so interested? Is there a way to convert social media in Civil Protection Agents? How can they improve crisis communications to foster recovery when a disaster strikes? A blog on crisis communications best practices, emergency information and social media in emergency management. Opinions are my own.
2 days with Glen Gilmore
Antrax crisis management, a 2.0 approach is the title of the conference
@GlenGilmore lectured yesterday in the Spanish city of Alcorcon, very close to
Madrid. The emergency digital magazine, @iRescate, directed by me, and the city
Hall Town of Alcorcon @AytoAlcorcon organized the event, which the cooperation
of the Spanish Society of Emergency Medicine, SEMES Madrid.
Since anyone interested in the conference may follow all the
information in @iRescate, where also an exclusive interview will be available soon, and
Twitter (#Antrax) what I’d like to talk in this post is how I met Gilmore
and my personal impression on the conference and him.
Glen Gilmore contacted me through Twitter on the summer of 2011. I started using the app only that same year, and I must confess that I didin’t
know, at that time, how important he was. I didin’t know he has more than
130.000 followers only in his personal account, besides those he has in his
The thing is I probably RT something he wrote (neither of us remember
how it was) and we started talking in Twitter. He immediately asked me to join
him in LinkeIn, which is what he usually does to check whether somebody is
reliable in social media, as he explained to me when we met in Madrid.
What I recalled clearly is that I
thought, for the message he sent me in Spanish to join him in LinkedIn, that he
was a gentleman. I also thought, for his profile picture, that he was much
older than he really is. The funny thing is that he immediately “threaten” me
to visit Spain next September. I inmediately answered: “You will be very welcome”.
More than a year happened, during which we kept talking on Twitter, when
he sent me an e-mail saying he was coming within a week to Madrid and if it would
be possible to lecture on the Antrax crisis. He also added that he needed a
translator :-) At that moment, I offered myself to perform the task.
I answered immediately saying it was all a bit too sudden, but,
nonetheless, I would make some calls to find a suitable place for the event. I
called my friend, @CarlosNovillo, Alcorcon’s Fire Fighter’s Chief, who said
that Alcorcon’s Mayor @DavidPerez, would be very interested. I also talked to the
vice president of the Spanish Society of Emergency Medicine, SEMES, @fernandolopezmesa, who offered
the possibility to certify the conference as a course. All settled, I talked to
Madrid 112 Press Manager, @Luisserranor, to organize a visit to Madrid 112.
We finally met on Wednesday the 25th on Madrid. We spent
three hours together talking on his experience with the Antrax and discussing
the presentation he would make the following day. We also talked about the Spanish
situation and met a demonstration on the city centre. By that time, I obviously
knew how much influence he has on social media, and I wanted everything to be
And it was.
Trustworthiness and social media
Emergency Managers always say trustworthiness is key in an
emergency situation. You can not pretend to open an account on Twitter and be
trusted by the citizens next day only because you are and authority.
Credibility is something that must be constructed day after day, so you are a
reliable source of information.
Glen and I trust each other for the moment we met in social media, and
that was the base for the event to be a success.
We spent Wednesday 26th all day together, from the moment
Madrid 112 Press Manager and me picked him up at his hotel. We visited Madrid
112 Joint Centre in the morning, then had lunch in Alcorcon with the Fire Fighters
Chief, the Security Responsible of Alcorcon city town and some other
authorities. At 6 o’clock p.m. we met Alcorcon’s Mayor and the conference
Visiting Madrid 112 Joint Centre
Gilmore was impressed by the Spanish Emergency Services, and so he said to
Madrid 112 Director and to Alcorcon’s Mayor. I remember him saying that he felt
“more secure” after visiting the Joint Centre and knowing how they work.
He tried all day to make himself understandable in Spanish, and we really had a great time.
If anyone understands perfectly why the Hufftington Post named him a
“Twitter Power House”, what I would like to remark about him is not only his
professionalism, well known everywhere, but his kindness and closeness.
As he said, social media connections are real connections, and they make
it possible that we finally were able to meet in Madrid and he could lecture
here on the Antrax crisis and the power of social media in emergency
Thanks to all my friends and authorities who make this event possible and to Glen for making all the way to Spain to share his experience with us!