SMEM Camp Whitepaper Released for Comment

Clarence Wardell and his merry band of researchers at CNA are proud to share the second draft of the Social Media in Emergency Management (#SMEM) Camp Paper for final public review. As you might recall earlier this summer Clarence released the initial findings which is a great executive summary of the opportunities and challenges identified at the March 24, 2011 SMEM Camp organized by SMEM volunteers and hosted at the Mid-Year National Emergency Management Association Conference in Alexandria, Virginia.

The second round of comments will be the final opportunity to provide thoughts and feedback. Please focus on CONTENT. We are grateful that CNA has budgeted for a technical editor for the paper who will make is all pretty. We really want to thank Clarence Wardell, Yee San Su and the leadership of CNA for adopting this project as a probono effort to ensure the important conversations at the SMEM Camp were reflected in a document which can begin to point to opportunities to move the ball forward to help emergency management and first responders use technology and open data, including social media tools, to help communities prepare for, respond to, recover from and mitigate against disasters.

The SMEM Camp whitepaper is now open for public comment. It will be a tight turn around we want to gather as much as we can in the coming days to incorporate into the final document which will be released this month for National Preparedness Month and we hope will be able to shape a panel discussion at the upcoming National Emergency Management Association and International Association of Emergency Management Annual conferences.

To provide input please follow these links:

  • To review the paper click to the PDF here:
  • To provide written comments (please cite the line number) please provide them via the comment document here:
  • If you have other input, feedback or contributions, please email Clarence Wardell at cwardell (at) or Heather Blanchard heather (at)
  • If you are an emergency manager and wish to join the #SMEM community Google group, or just to read about previous activities click to the CrisisCommons Wiki and 
  • Be sure to follow the #SMEM hashtag on Twitter. Every Friday at 12:30PM emergency management practitioners gather on Twitter and conduct a weekly #SMEMchat. To check out the archives of these chats on Twitter click to
CrisisCommons will host a SMEM Monthly Call this Thursday at 11:00AM EST to discuss these finding and provide any final last points for the paper.
All comments must be committed by 5pM EST – TUESDAY SEPTEMBER 6. CNA must complete the final draft by September 16th. We understand and wish we had more time but we are very grateful for all of the volunteer research team’s hard work on the paper and the opportunity to take advantage of a professional editor :)
This paper will be released via a PDF but CrisisCommons will translate the paper into a wiki format so the community can continue to edit and expand upon its findings with subsequent learnings. We like living documents. We hope you can spare a few minutes over this holiday weekend to take a look at the paper and provide your support through your comments.
Again we thank the village which this paper represents. From CNA team and the merry band of volunteer researchers and notetakers who spared a Thursday to try to get down all the great things people were saying at SMEM Camp, to NEMA and all the good people there who believed in this project and provided the space for collaboration and dialogue. We also appreciated them keeping us watered and provided mid-afternoon sugar fix with ice cream treats. But the big thanks goes to the team of SMEMers who braved weekly phone calls, virtual collaboration at all hours of the day (and across many timezones) to make the SMEM Camp happen but to keep building upon its spirit such as the weekly #SMEMChat, UASI Panel Discussion and contribution of writing perspectives such as Patrice Cloutier’s who flew all the way from Canada to provide an international perspective both in the event and written. His report will be an appendix to this report. In addition the UASI Conference notes were also provided to the research team.


About #SMEM

The Social Media in Emergency Management Initiative “SMEM” is an informal network of Cross-functional disciplines, including emergency management practitioners, Virtual Operations Support Team Volunteers, First Responders, and practitioners in academia, who seek to explore best practices and bridge social media in emergency management. SMEM seeks to build a common understanding and “experience exchange” to support the use and inclusion of social media, behavioral science, public data and technology innovation to support mission objectives of emergency management to prepare for, respond to, recover from and mitigate against disaster.

The overarching goals of SMEM as an open community are to document and share social media best practices within the practitioner field of emergency management; to help frame policy development, operations and other augmentations of support within domestic crisis management systems; and to accelerate and amplify the incorporation and engagement with social media and accessible technologies within the broader emergency management community. The community will do this by establishing SMEM collaboration processes, including ad-hoc small multi-discipline workgroups to support coordination efforts, recruitment into the community, monthly conference calls, bi-annual in-person meetings, and reaching out to garner support and augment existing efforts.

In March 2011, SMEM gathered together to host its first gathering in collaboration with NEMA at their Mid-Year Conference. During this event emergency managers and practitioners gathered to discuss the opportunities and challenges of using social media and other emerging technologies in emergency management. The primary objective of the gathering was to capture best practices, challenges, future engagement and training opportunities. A volunteer research team led by CNA with support from CrisisCommons was conducted. Initial findings from this event can be found online with a full report to be released by fall 2011. (See final review above)

About Heather Blanchard

Heather Blanchard is a co-founder of CrisisCommons and CrisisCamp.

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