ASIST2010: Information Sharing

This session was yesterday and I have handwritten notes, so I will miss a lot. I’m going to have two papers on this one post – there were three at the session but I won’t be covering the third.

The first paper was Twitter for City Police Information Sharing and it was by Thomas J. Heverin and Lisl Zach (Drexel)

Typical communication has been police department > media > people and the police feel that their message doesn’t always get across or gets changed or biased in the telling. Using twitter or other social tools changes it to department > people.  The Boston PD has 17k followers.

They looked at the 60 largest cities in the US (those with populations >300k in 2009) and found that 30 had active twitter feeds. Active means more than 10 tweets in the past 6 months. They downloaded the most recent 300 tweets, or all tweets if there were less than 300. The average PD has 2000 followers (I wonder how many followers are reporters). The total set of tweets was 4915. They coded using open coding. They had three major categories: time sensitive, non-time sensitive, .  45% of the tweets are about crime incidents (sub category of time sensitive – the whole category has 59%). 32% non-time sensitive, 7% conversational aspects.

How are citizens RT-ing, mentioning, etc. Of the tweets with @police department in them  38% are RT, 28% are RT with comments, 15% are replies. PDs don’t want to interact they just want to bypass media.

The second paper was on Emergency Knowledge Management and Social Media Technologies by Dave Yates and Scott Paquette (Maryland)

This was a fascinating talk. Dave Yates is an Air Force Reservist and he was called up to help support US Military support for the US support to Haiti after the earthquake in January. He gave a lot of information on how bad the impact was and how widespread, also that there were 45k american citizens there who needed to be evacuated. His team needed to coordinate with State and USAID. The old school way to do that is to pass around ppts within the team, present them to the general  and then they would be passed to leadership at the other organization to trickle down to the people who need it. They then moved to some liaison role, but finally what really worked was shared social software and SharePoint – so the mid-level managers could communicate directly and coordinate.

Theoretically – Carlile (2004) Knowledge boundaries – syntactic, semantic, pragmatic. KM capabilities facilitated by social media included:

  • incremental contributions
  • information architecture
  • neutral ground
  • reuse
  • visualize context
  • personal connections

This led to better knowledge flows, collaboratively created content…

I’m definitely going to read the paper – very interesting.

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