…when it comes to the appropriate use social media. So says the brilliant Patrick Meier and well, he should know as he is one of the brains behind Ushahidi, Crisismappers, Harvard’s Program on Crisis Mapping & Early Warning, Digital Humanitarians, the Standby Task Force, and now the Director of Social Innovation at the Qatar Foundation’s Computing Research Institute.
While there has been some reaction to the mistakes made in “crowdsourcing” information after the bombing at the Boston Marathon, Meier unpacks the reasons why. He concludes two main reasons:
(1) the crowd is digitally illiterate
(2) the platforms used were not appropriate for the tasks at hand
Rather than try to duplicate what he has written, follow this link to read his analysis, which is a fairly simple read. The crowd can share lots of useless data and we need to figure out better ways to verify this data before joining Alice in chasing rabbits down holes. Meier is the behind the Verily project that should help with this, but we need more of these types of projects and more brains looking at this area, building on what we know already.
There is no doubt that there is a need for educating people in how to use a new platform, social media, etc. As a friend said on Twitter recently “how’bout invest in people to help develop learning capacity & ability to analyse, make sense complexity?“ For us at the Speed Evidence Project, technology is only part of the answer, we are also investing in helping people understand the information and how to use the new information. As we’ve said before, the technology is the easy bit.