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Posted 3:12am, Wed 26th February, 2014 by Trafficchief
At the recently concluded Social Media Week, Mr Tom Obey (Information Communication Technology Consultant of the National Emergency Management Agency) talked about the use of Social Media to prevent disasters in the country.
It should come as no surprise that millions of Nigerians use popular social networking platforms like Facebook and Twitter every day to post pictures, communicate with one another and update their statuses. Here-in lies the latent potential for these platforms to be used to provide real-time status updates of the situation on ground during a disaster or incident.
Social Media has the unique advantage of quick adoptability and easy accessibility, and it requires little or no training. People willingly sign up with little or no persuasion just so they can keep in touch with family and friends, meet new people, network and keep up to date with the latest news and updates from around the world. This is what makes Social Media perfect for getting attention, spreading news, getting feedback, providing support, and organizing a strong work force.
For now Social Media is primarily being used by private sector businesses and brands for spreading awareness about their products and services and engaging with their customers. However, it has the potential for much more than that. Social Media has the potential to assist NEMA and other Federal and State Government Agencies get quick information and feedback of any emergency incident and to alert first-responders in cases that involve the loss of life and the destruction of property.
Twitter has recognized this potential and recently rolled out a new service called Twitter Alerts where it partners with local credible organizations to help users get important and accurate information during emergencies, natural disasters or moments when other communications services arenít accessible.
As pointed out by Mr Patrick Omoniyi at the Social Media Week event; social media should be extended to other areas such as health, crime and other public sector for prompt services. Imagine getting alerts on your phone when a crime just occurred in the neighborhood where you lived and instantly being able to check updates from the police and eye-witnesses at the scene.
Traffic Chief Nigeria
A good example of such a platform that leverages on the potential of Social Media is our very own TrafficChiefNG. Gone are the days of waiting for the 6 O'Clock news to get information of accidents and emergency situations around Lagos. Now you can get alerted about them the instant they occur, and read up real-time status updates as the events unfold. The key is providing simple and easy ways of obtaining crucial and critical information in time of an emergency and ensuring that information gets in the hands of both the people that can do something about it (first-responders) and the public so they are made aware in time to make well-informed decisions.
For more information about what TrafficChiefNG is and how it can help you Click Here.
But off-course all this won't be possible without affordable smartphones and data plans. The Government and Communication industry would need to work hand in hand to invest in and improve on the ICT industry in the country, to enable the public to enjoy and make good use of free or the very least affordable services such as WiFi to facilitate quick reporting of emergencies, crimes or disasters.
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