What is the VOST Leadership Coalition?

VOST logo

The Virtual Operations Support Team (VOST) Leadership Coalition comprises team leaders, coordinators, administrators and developers, as well as representatives of any group operating or developing digital volunteer programs anywhere in the world.

A small VOST interest group came together last month, April 2012, to share knowledge and experience and to explore possible areas of collaboration between teams. VOST seeks to use SMEM to harness actionable information with predictable outcomes. Trusted agents (VOSTies), Emergency Managers and related interest groups in the business of crisis response are now working together to help each other organize teams of volunteers to use Social Media to bridge Emergency Management (SMEM) for the benefit of the general public. Since the first conference call last month, numbers have doubled and the reach has expanded further internationally.

Current Representation on the VOST Leadership Coalition

Continents/ Regions:

Oceania – Europe – North America


United States – Canada – England (UK) – New Zealand

United States:

Alaska – California – Hawaii – Georgia – New York – New Mexico – Oklahoma – Oregon – Texas – Washington – Wisconsin.

The first meeting in April 2012 started with a small group exploring areas of common ground between the various groups. Top priorities for the group were expressed in a pre-meeting survey. and based on responses (10), the interest can be summarized as follows:  (complete results here):

  • consistency of team deliverables
  • developing recommendations for emergency managers and others
  • expanding resources amongst teams
  • consistent activation processes.
The second VLC conference call takes place this Friday, May 25th 2012 and includes many more participants representing 24 organizations in total, of which approximately half are active VOSTs, including some that would be capable of activation at short notice should that become necessary or desirable, despite their status of “in development”. This week’s focus is fairly broad, including:

  • definitions & triggers for activation
  • types of activation triggers
  • suggested nomenclature for phases to define types of activities underway
  • types of core activities in which it is necessary or desireable for a VOST to engage.
  • Situational awareness & monitoring
  • gathering of key concerns & questions for an EM Entity
  • sharing of answers & resources
  • archiving of activity across social platforms

With only 60 minutes allocated for the call in total and 24 organizations to be heard, there’s not going to be much time, if any, for brainstorming, but the level of interest in VOST in only a few short months surely demonstrates that not only is SMEM working, but also that VOST practitioners are dedicated to making it part of their long term future.

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