There’s a photo doing the rounds today in the Irish Red Cross Communications Team that is so great.
It’s our colleagues from the Philippines Red Cross responding to the recent devastating floods in their country. The photo has gone viral amongst Red Crossers on twitter – just type in Red Cross amphibians and you will see.
What interested me more was where the photo was posted. The Chairman of the Red Cross in the Philippines has a personal Facebook page which from here looks like it functions as the official page of the Society (Although that is culturally odd to me as an Irish person, it certainly personalises and puts a face on the work of the Society).
What I love about this Facebook page is that the communication is 2-way – it provides a forum for 2-way conversation between the Red Cross teams coordinating the response on the ground, and people experiencing the crisis ‘live’. You get a real sense of being involved and part of a humanitarian response – even if only as a spectator. And yet it clearly has a very practical function of getting crucial information out to those in need, and crucial information to those running the operation to ensure that operation is most effective.
During the Dublin floods last autumn Twitter exploded with information about what was going on where (#whatthefliuch trended for the week in typical Dub humour), and you could argue that AA Roadwatch and Met Eireann effectively provide an on-going information service on severe weather conditions here in Ireland. Communicators can now use geo-targeted texting to get key messages and calls to action into the right hands at the exact right time.
Could social media and other digital channels be the future of communicating with those affected by natural disaster or severe weather here in Ireland? What about those with no access to the net or no mobiles or coverage? What about older audiences?
Answers on a postcard 😉