Social Media Publications

Tweeting Up a Storm: The Promise and Perils of Crisis Mapping

Oct 09, 2013
Crisis mapping is an inter-disciplinary field that aggregates crowd-generated input data, such as social media feeds and photographs, with geographic data, to provide real-time, interactive information in support of disaster management and humanitarian relief. This article provides a brief overview of the emerging legal and ethical issues within crisis mapping. more

Connecting Grassroots to Government for Disaster Management: Workshop Summary

Sep 06, 2013
The growing use of social media and other mass collaboration technologies is opening up new opportunities in disaster management efforts, but is also creating new challenges for policymakers looking to incorporate these tools into existing frameworks. The Commons Lab, part of the Science & Technology Innovation Program, hosted a September 2012 workshop bringing together emergency responders, crisis mappers, researchers, and software programmers to discuss issues surrounding the adoption of these new technologies. This report discusses the key findings, policy suggestions, and success stories that emerged during the workshop. more

What Should Think Tanks Do? A Strategic Guide to Policy Impact by Andrew Selee

What Should Think Tanks Do? A Strategic Guide to Policy Impact

Jul 24, 2013
What Should Think Tanks Do? is the first guide specifically tailored to think tanks, policy research, and advocacy organizations. Andrew Selee draws on interviews with members of leading think tanks, as well as cutting-edge thinking in business and nonprofit management, to provide strategies for setting policy-oriented goals and shaping public opinion.  more

Transforming Earthquake Detection and Science through Citizen Seismology

Jun 28, 2013
This white paper describes a groundbreaking system of citizen science projects by the U.S. Geological Survey and other scientific institutions to detect and monitor earthquakes and engage the public in scientific research about seismic events. These approaches seek to provide a more robust earthquake alert network and generate more real-time motion data. The paper also looks at how future efforts could be improved. Successful crowdsourcing projects at the federal level must navigate a web of practical, legal and policy considerations. This paper identifies some of these hurdles and provides lessons learned so that others may apply them to their unique missions. more

Towards Trustworthy Social Media and Crowdsourcing

Apr 29, 2013
Individuals and organizations using social media and crowdsourcing need two key sets of information: a systematic assessment of the vulnerabilities in these technologies and a comprehensive set of best practices describing how to address these vulnerabilities. This report identifies certain vulnerabilities and provides a guideline to develop best practices necessary to address a growing number of incidents ranging from innocent mistakes to targeted attacks that have claimed lives and cost millions of dollars. more

On Cybersecurity, Crowdsourcing, and Social Cyber-Attack

Mar 04, 2013
Social media is responsible for much positive change in the world. But these new tools can be used by bad actors to foment strife and undermine stability, as seen during violent incidents in the Assam state of northeast India in July 2012. Cybersecurity efforts must take into account the growing potential for cyber-attack using social media, where hoax messages are incorporated into a stream of otherwise legitimate messages, and understand how quickly mobile apps and text services can disseminate false information. more

A 21st Century Vision for U.S. Global Media

Nov 15, 2012
Drawing on past work supported by the Cold War International History Program, the A. Ross Johnson and R. Eugene Parta apply lessons from successful U.S. international broadcasting during the Cold War to today’s transformed geopolitical, media, and technological world. They suggest a restatement of mission and corresponding organizational changes to ensure that international broadcasting remains an effective instrument of U.S. soft power – one supporting freedom and democracy abroad in the national interest. more

2011 Social Media + Emergency Management Camp: Transforming the Response Enterprise

Nov 07, 2012
By harnessing the collective power of citizens and engaging communities in their own response and recovery, social media have the power to revolutionize emergency management. Yet, many challenges—including guidelines for use by response agencies, demonstration of value, and characterization of reliability—must be addressed if the potential of social media is to be fully realized in emergency response and relief efforts in the United States. more

The National Broadband Map: A Case Study on Open Innovation for National Policy

Nov 06, 2012
A white paper on the policy and technology behind the National Broadband Map, an open-source geographic information systems application allowing users to access detailed statistics on internet connectivity. This project demonstrates the value of transparency, collaboration, and cooperation in government projects. more

Responding to Liability: Evaluating and Reducing Tort Liability for Digital Volunteers

Sep 14, 2012
Major emergencies and crises can overwhelm local resources. In the last several years, self-organized digital volunteers have begun leveraging the power of social media and “crowd-mapping” for collaborative crisis response. Rather than mobilizing a physical response, these digital volunteer groups have responded virtually by creating software applications, monitoring social networks, aggregating data, and creating “crowdsourced” maps to assist both survivors and the formal response community. These virtual responses can subject digital volunteers to tort liability. This report evaluates the precise contours of potential liability for digital volunteers. more

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Dialogue

The Future of Higher Education

Mar 26, 2014Apr 02, 2014

Jeff Abernathy and Richard Morrill discuss how colleges and universities are dealing with rapidly rising costs and how the United States can still compete for students in a globalized environment.