Is there training for VOST?
- There are two presentation products currently available, VOST Basics and the NZ VOST Training Guide for New Zealand, by Caroline Milligan and Scott Reuter.
- Training is normally done on a Just-In-Time basis for specific tasks on an activation and to orient team members on specifics of the mission, sensitivities, etc.
- Training on specific skills related to social media and the various tools that are used is less formal, and usually done on individual basis within the community.
How is a team organized?
This varies depending on several factors, including what entity is developing/activating a team; for what purpose and for what duration. We see several models being developed and there are examples or ideas that will be instructive based on the answers to the first questions
What documentation is used?
Jeff Phillips has developed Modified ICS Forms in google documents so they can be shared and used by multiple team members in the virtual space. http://bit.ly/JPmodICS
Marlita Reddy-Hjemfelt has developed a google document based workbook which has multiple tabs for stating objectives, tracking availability and time spent, capturing important information and other things. Contact: The Red Elm.
Ultimately any document system should match up to what the EM entity uses so information exchange can be seamless
What is the primary monitoring tool used?
This varies based on personal preference mostly. People use Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, Twitterfall and others along with twitter web and Facebook, google search, row feeder and other free and paid tools. Again this will depend upon the task assignment and it is important to have back ups as well.
Biggest hurdles to creating a VOST and keeping it running?
- Initial challenges have related to getting EM entities to take the leap. Where they have the next set of challenges include establishing notification and operational protocols, expectations, etc. that match the EM entities objectives and conops.
- Where the EM entity has more cautious or wait and see the challenge is to demonstrate the utility of VOST without going over the line and identify clearly what should and should not be done
- Another hurdle is recruiting enough trusted agents to adequately maintain the defined tasks for the period of time needed. Right now there is a relatively small pool of people working on each other’s teams but this is probably not sustainable in the long run.
- If your task is to develop a social media monitoring team, you need to determine if it is steady-state monitoring plus monitoring during threat and emergency incident periods, because the level of effort and human resource needs are different
- If in addition to monitoring the team is tasked with amplifying and/or generating official information and engaging social media users you need to determine if you will be doing that for the EM entity using their accounts or under VOST generated accounts
- The VOST model is unique because it is a resource develop by/for an EM entity and works directly for it just like any other resource. It needs to be directly connected to the EM organization in order to receive tasks and instructions and to give and receive information
Author: Jeff Phillips.