17-001: A Shake That Never Happened #PIO #Safety #SocialMedia

17-001: A Shake That Never Happened
Agency: US Geological Survey (USGS) Topic(s):      Error message / human error
Date: 06-23-17 Platform:      Twitter/Email

Sometimes, US Geological Survey (USGS) computers have 6.8 sized hiccups which automatically pushed out info this past Wednesday. This caused serious concern as numerous Emergency Management professionals and PIOs desperately searched to verify information on any earthquake in California. None was to be found on Wednesday June 21, 2017.

As you can see, the date listed in the email notification isn’t consistent with Wednesday’s date as well as the time stamp of publication.

Even worse was the 140-character tweet with even less text/info that initially went out to their 679K followers (@USGS). With the magnitude and epicenter location in a well populated area (Santa Barbara CA), it is crucial that we have multiple sources to verify critical information.

As humans, our attention span has shortened. (SQUIRREL!) Likely thousands misread the initial date/time listed on the email. Even less took the time to click the link in the tweet.

USGS noticed the error and posted this explanation of the errand info. Emails were sent to explain the deleted event.

Obviously more than 140 characters, they screen shot a typed response and posted the image to twitter referencing their errant tweet. The USGS used this tactic to get more information and characters into an otherwise short 140-character tweet.

Whether computer or human error, fessing up to an error on social media is embarrassing. However, the ramifications of arbitrarily deleting info without prior public notification will gander your agency a rash of criticism from the most loyal of followers. Government agencies should strive to foster trust and transparency with all of their constituency. Not to mention, deletion of your posts must match your agency’s policy/procedure or SOP/SOG.

Three important tips to consider if an agency posts something weird:

  1. Trust, but verify information. Trust your social media intuition.
  2. Correlate data from various sources to make an informed decision for ongoing operations.
  3. Admit your mistakes. It happens. Human error is a thing.

Mistakes happen, but how you recover will either make you a hero or a zero. Maximize your efforts on social media including screenshots of your more-than-140-character-response.

Time is short, so tweet / email correct stuff!

@rusnivek

****Or download the one-pager here: AShakeThatNeverHappened-Safety-PIO-SM-17-001***

Maybe watch a quick video from USA Today

Helmet mounted systems for augmented reality? Well…

Assessing a few helmet mounted systems today for augmented reality in-field use.

Some of them totally cool…

U.S. Air Force Capt. Brad Matherne, 422nd Test and Evaluation Squadron pilot, views the flightline inside an F-35A Lightning II before a training mission, April 4, 2013, at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. The 422nd TES will design the tactics for the F-35A. The squadron will also determine how to integrate the F-35A with other aircraft in the Air Force inventory. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Brett Clashman)

…some of them not so much.

Information overload continues to be a problem for any user including the ongoing data deluge to our military fixed and rotor wing pilots who regularly use these variants of these systems.

And simplicity just isn’t going to cut it.

Additionally, hardware barriers are easy to overcome but the software still lags due to lack of high speed connection. Cellular speeds are lackluster, but the apps required to do overlay of information hogs data up real quick. Additionally, the power required to run these complex apps on hardware is huge.

Maybe I’ll just go retro.

It’s Monday so keep your head down!

@rusnivek

Providing oversight on today’s US DHS and PS Canada International Exercise #Cause4 #CauseIV

I was requested to support the Department of Homeland Security’s 2016 Science and Technology Cause-4 International Exercise between the United States and Canada today.

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United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Public Safety Canada. Yep-international baby!!!!!

But crossing borders is more difficult than you think – esp when dealing with patient privacy, tactical operations, and coordinating efforts amongst ultra type-A personalities.

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This is why training and exercising is so crucial to agencies who want to make a different in their communities they serve. This is also why Emergency Management is ideally a solid coordinating entity for this type of response.

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In this particular international exercise, emergency response agencies are testing EMS response, transport information, sharing actionable data, social media, and a whole lots others stuff.

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I’m just glad to be a small part of the work by so many people and agencies.

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I am convinced that through joint exercises, we can build stronger core agencies and be better responsive to emerging threats and hazards.

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“It is imperative that we enhance our all-hazards public safety partnerships.” – Kevin Sur.

@rusnivek

 

Bioterrorism discussion at IIT in Chicago

This past weekend, I was invited to swing by the Illinois Institute of Technology Graduate School in downtown Chicago.

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Spirited discussion included bioterrorism, social media data/intelligence, explosives, nuc/rad release, mass panic/evacuation, and of course drone operations for large events.

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Participants included many members of Chicago Police’s upper administration and leadership from Chicago Police specialty teams.

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They asked Dr. Fagel if I was a Special Agent kinda guy. Clearly, my Aloha shirt on a Saturday really messed things up.

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Overall, it was a great day to be in downtown Chicago.

Looking forward to sharing some SME knowledge with the graduate students this fall.

@rusnivek

FireChat – First look 

FireChat – First Look
There has been lots of discussion about mobile message apps using MESH networks. Just like my deployment to Hurricane Katrina/Rita in Louisiana’s Lower 9th Ward, we had no cell service which means no internet. Common in disasters, many startups are looking to bridge that gap using Bluetooth/MESH networking for any type of mobile technology.


MESH networks literally work by using other devices in your general vicinity to relay/transmit data to any available network. Devices can automatically network with each other via flood technique (overwhelming) or routing technique (hardware hoping). To put it into terms that we in government are more used to hearing, this type of networking is considered a mobile ad-hoc network that can operate independently with little or no internet connection.

Some advantages include internet use with at least one actual connection, increasing local networking by locality through mobile hardware, and of course an automatic mobile-to-mobile network.

Some dangers include lack of security, mobile device protection, connection reliability, and as the MESH network grows the more prolonged data delays occur.

Soooooooooooo, just like when ello was released, I downloaded the app and started using it. I engaged with various users over the course of the last 4 weeks. Here’s my notes.

  • GPS data is incorrect. I was in Dallas’ airport and it pegged me in Natchitoches, LA.
  • Bluetooth is another way for MESH networks to communicate but strength of mobile-mobile connections is fleeting/passing in an airport
  • Hyperlinks do work.
  • When you upload a picture, FireChat does NOT give a confirmation message or pop-up that your picture is uploaded (I found this out because I uploaded my picture six times before I realized what was happening). #whoopsies

  • Aaaaand you cannot erase pictures.
  • Users cannot erase comments.
  • Hashtags help users identify topic and discussion.
  • Hashtags are hyperlinked in FireChat to those specific groups.
  • Twitter handles do NOT hyperlink to Twitter accounts
  • Phone numbers hyperlink to phone app (list using xxx-xxx-xxxx). It also works using the xxxxxxxxxx format but it looks cleaner and easier to recite w/ natural “-” breaks.
  • FireChat does not allow cut/paste function.
  • GPS coordinates do not hyperlink to any maps (Apple Maps or Google Maps)
  • USNG does not work either.
  • Refresh rate is slow (when compared to Twitter’s network refreshes faster and is more streaming).
  • In a known dead spot for cell service, MESH network was slow and did not connect to internet.
  • Trolls are rampant and uncontrolled in the main chatroom.
  • Main chatroom has various and NSFW topics.
  • Many users do not identify themselves with a profile picture or descriptor.
  • Many users are using this service as a social network for personal PERSONAL reasons.
  • Bad words are censored on FireChat with “*****”. Unknown what those specific terms are.
  • You can like a comment from others or about yourself. Other users can see that someone has liked the comment/content by the red heart displayed. No amount is quantified. Just one lonely red heart.

If Emergency Management was to use FireChat, designate a specialist to monitor to observe and engage pertinent conversation in main chat room directing them to distinct #group in FireChat.

At this time, I only use FireChat when I’m bored and want to see if they have developed other functionality tools.

Just a few initial thoughts on FireChat.

@rusnivek

Twitter is now tracking all other apps too! Freaked out?

So…this just happened to me.

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Twitter will now track the activities from all your OTHER apps on your smart phone/tablet.

That’s right, Twitter will use:

  • your FourSquare/Swarm geolocation data to target you for ads.
  • your pictures to see what you take pictures of to target you for ads.
  • your songs to see what music you listen to so they can target you for ads
  • your Instagram photos to see who likes them so they can target ads to them.
  • your airlines apps so they can serve you targeted ads on your flights
  • your phone calls to see who/where you call so they can target ads to you/them.

You get the idea.

Yeowza Twitter.

From Twitter’s EULA: “…collecting and occasionally updating the list of apps installed on your mobile device so we can deliver tailored content that you might be interested in.”

Creeped out? You know you can disable this feature through the Twitter app’s settings menu. Depending on the iOS:

  • For iOS device users: disable this through setting —> account -> privacy -> Tailor Twitter based on my apps.
  • For Android users: settings -> account -> other ->Tailor Twitter based on my apps.

I get that Twitter would like to collect data with what I do using in the Twitter app. In fact, I expect it. However, I am a bit uncomfortable with Twitter collecting info from various other apps.

Not cool Twitter. Way to be that creepy Uncle.

@rusnivek

 

Press amenities…because they are our partners in safety right? #PIO

Media considerations: Press amenities.

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Aside from giving the media the juicy story they crave…we should do a better job in considering their needs during a disaster.

However, in this day/age of media involvement and constant interaction, it would behoove us PIOs to better meet the needs of our partners (that’s right, I said partners) in safety.

For prolonged incidents, it would be nice if your agency:

  • Provided a bunch of plugs and/or outlets to use. Power seems to be a mandatory necessity during every day life. Just look at any airport with weirdos hunched around an open power plug.
  • Setting up a separate WiFi for media use only so they can meet their timely deadlines or push valuable info via social media. They are data hogs just like the rest of us. It has been proven for humans to exist, we need WiFi.
  • Held up white cards for white balance during setup…or better yet warm cards to help the videographers get their color scheme setup right. It does make you look like you just got back from someplace warm and now have a nice tan.
  • A simple cup of coffee would be a welcome olive branch in the midst of disaster/emergency. First informal rule of any disaster or emergency? A cup of coffee regularly ranks high on the scale of requests and necessities from everyone. Available 24/7.

Since we are breaking down barriers, we need to explore a few options to support our partners in safety. Look at this setup…

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…no seriously, look closer.

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What do you see?

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Build your relationships before a disaster and strengthen them as you continue to train exercise your skills. Partners in safety.

Let’s work together to better our response and enhance communications skills with just some basic needs for the press. Trust me, a little goes along way.

After all, the old adage goes: you can attract more friends with honey than vinegar…right?

@rusnivek