...or at least trying to.
Emergency preparedness is adopting new technologies as a means of communicating during a disaster.
There is a group at the University of Colorado that is using the term "crisis informatics" to explain new dimensions of the study of information and communications technology. It seems to be a marriage of IT and sociology to discuss how technology is used during a crisis and how it can be applied to improve emergency response.
To understand it better, I looked into the definition of "informatics" first. Here are two excerpts from the web:
- Informatics: An emerging term that is used to cover information along with its management, particularly by computer. Usually the field involved is used along with ”informatics”, e.g., “medical informatics.”
- Informatics: A field of study that focuses on the use of technology for improving access to and utilization of information. Health informatics is the systematic study of information in the healthcare delivery system—how it is captured, retrieved, and used in making decisions—as well as the tools and methods used to manage this information and support decisions.
The Colorado researchers are looking at the social meaning of communications technology in the context of emergency response. Some of the research involved text messaging and Facebook usage during the Virginia Tech killings in 2007.
(Reading about this made me think of Emily Keyes, who texted her parents before she was killed at Platte Canyon High School in September 2006. Her parents must treasure that text message.)
So what do you think? Do you think you would appreciate getting updates via text messaging during a crisis? What if it was a "group" text message, such as those disseminated through Twitter?
Here's your chance to weigh in.