Occupy gets rolling in Sandy disaster relief; Far Rockaway & Staten Island in a messy situation; #hurricanehackers Sandy Crisis Camps this weekend

Via Occupy Sandy Relief NYC 4 hrs ago: https://www.facebook.com/OccupySandyReliefNyc?fref=ts

379035_381284791951728_2047353211_n.png

>>> #NOT ANOTHER KATRINA <<<
Contrary to what might be inferred by a media and government blackout - Rockaway IS. NOT. RECOVERING.

We can't stress this enough. It looks like parts of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

Residents are being told they will receive NO assistance, no food, no medicine, NOTHING if they remain in Rockaway

As of a few hours ago Occupy Sandy Relief has a community hub up and running at Beach 113th Street and Rockaway Blvd. We are distributing lights, clothing, blankets and warm food.
DO NOT ARRIVE AT NIGHT! We will be open and ready for more volunteers and supplies tomorrow morning.
- More photos, need lists and stories to come

The whole situation in the east coast is really rough right now. I'm going to post copies of these pads right now in the hopes of circulating some material. This should prove once and for all that "preppers" have an important role to play in avoiding total disaster -- but of course in these circumstances it takes all of us working together. Where the various levels of government are totally messed up, people are making things happen in a horizontal way, covering emergency basic needs and anchoring anxious communities.

Hope it helps, there are a lot of places to plug in & postal addresses accepting supplies if nothing else....

People looking for something to do might want to check out #HurricaneHackers. Sandy CrisisCamp | CrisisCommons. Also Ushahidi is being used for crowd mapping services . Recovers.org is also being used - subdomains for locales. Tune in @globalrevlive as well for updates. At this time, a hub for distribution of aid in Rockaway has already been set up. Staten Island is definitely out of gas and things are hard to find out there but hopefully more will be known Thursday.

The main hubs going on right now: OccupySandy hub: http://interoccupy.net/occupysandy/, also email: OccupySandy@interoccupy.net or occupysandy@gmail.com - includes drop off locations for donation items . Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/OccupySandyReliefNyc- users are posting some crazy stuff on here.

//// Obligatory Bonus Paranoia Notes: I'm not feeling the FreakOut Vibe right now -- let's relax and get things done, ok?! -- but some things on the margins ought to be noted anyway. if the US military becomes more activated under semi-federalized powers, expect NORTHCOM CONPLAN 3501 generally, and CONPLAN 3502 to be activated - see my Nov 2010 story for more. At this time seems unlikely - but the double-bonus Word From the Weird Cats is that HAARP-type energy distortions are indicated charging for California quakes (FB) & there are a bunch farther up the Pacific fault in Canada going lately. I don't have a strong opinion about Tactical Weather Modification being the explanation for this kind of thing routinely, however also no one really wants to mention all the weather control tech that is routinely used, and not logged. Who can work out the insurance consequences of, say artificial snowfall in Colorado & downwind drought effects? Let alone the interesting troposphere electromagnetic tech systems - the HAARP patents! .... Once things settle down, we need to really demand inventory and activity logs of all this fancy stuff - reasonable enough?? /////

Here's a copy of the InterOccupy page right now: http://interoccupy.net/occupysandy/

@OccupySandy
Occupy Sandy is a coordinated relief effort to help distribute resources & volunteers to help neighborhoods and people affected by Hurricane Sandy. We are a coalition of people & organizations who are dedicated to implementing aid and establishing hubs for neighborhood resource distribution. Members of this coalition are from Occupy Wall Street, 350.org, recovers.org and interoccupy.net. The task of rebuilding communities is a marathon and not a sprint. We thank you for your donations and your support. The hubs we have set up so far are listed below and photos and volunteer updates are available on our facebook: www.facebook.com/occupysandyreliefnyc. To contact us with information that should be included on this hub, please email OccupySandy@interoccupy.net

To get regular updates by text message please text "occupysandy" to 23559.

Enter your email in the form on the left to receive news and updates about how you can help!

Financial Donations can be made to:
https://www.wepay.com/donations/occupy-sandy-cleanup-volunteers


Volunteer to Help Out the Relief Effort:
http://interoccupy.net/occupysandy/volunteer/


To locate an Emergency Shelter:
http://www.nyc.gov/html/misc/html/2012/hurricane_shelters.html


For anyone who needs assistance with food:

Citymeals www.citymeals.org is delivering shelf-stable meals to seniors. If you come across any senior housing, please contact Citymeals and make them aware. Email Rachel@citymeals.org.

Emergency food stamps: Call 718-557-1339. Many people may qualify for the Disaster-Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (D-SNAP).

To donate goods, here is a list of needs and where you can drop them off:

GENERAL NEEDS - ALL LOCATIONS NEED THESE ITEMS

blankets
candles
flashlights
batteries
water
food
socks
towels
printer paper
baby items: diapers etc.
pet food

DROP-OFF LOCATIONS


Astoria
36-10 Crescent St. 2nd floor.
Contact Pam: 718-208-7205

Chinatown (open Nov 1, 10am-5pm)
CAAAV
46 Hester St Frnt A
(212) 473-6485
justice@caaav.org - email provided, but best to just show up to help or bring supplies!

Specific Requests in Chinatown:
Water bottles
C, D, AA, AAA batteries (and one 9 volt battery)
Food (hot at lunch, non-perishable/bread/cookies)
Some bottles of Ensure (Glucerna shake) for the elderly, vitamins for the elderly
Generator (for shelter at 350 Grand St, Seward Park High School)


Rockaway and Far Rockaway
Location 1:
Firehouse on 59th street
across from the train station.
contact person: Jean Dupont 9179755623

Location 2:
Veggie Island
96th Street and Rockaway Blvd.

Location 3:
Store Front Community Center
B113 and Rockaway Beach Blvd

Specific Requests in Rockaway and Far Rockaway (starred ones are most urgent):
* Propane grille or camping style oven
* Plates, cups, forks, bowls, spoons, etc
* blankets, jackets, gloves, hats, anything to keep folks warm
* cleaning supplies - buckets, squeegies, mops, bleach
* masks, gloves for cleaning
* socks
* water
* tarps
* garbage bags
boots
electric stove
gas stove
satellite phones
big paper, tape, markers
pens, paper, notepads
generators
pumps
camping tables
gasoline
gasoline containers
percolator
fire extinguishers
walkie talkies
i9 tablets
projector/illuminator


Fort Green/Clinton Hill
45 Waverly Avenue
just off of Park Ave in Fort Green/Clinton Hill
(Hours for Nov 1: 10am-6pm)

Park Slope
Park Slope Armory
361 15th St, Brooklyn

Sunset Park
St. Jacobi Church
5406 4th Ave
Contact: Ronnie 646-353-5194

Specific Requests in Sunset Park:
steamtable foil pans full or half size w lids
blankets
cleaning supplies
tin foil
saran wrap


Williamsburg (starting Nov 1, 10am)
Residence
306 Leonard St, apt J1 (btwn Conselyea and Metropolitan)
Contact: Jennifer (917) 586-4153

Bedstuy
Residence
136 Jefferson Ave, apt 2 11216

East Billyburg (Beginning Thursday Nov 1 at 12 noon)
House of Yes
342 Maujer st
Contact: Kae Burke (525)217-7209

Harlem
Location 1:
Residence
47 saint nicholas avenue #4d
btw 112 and 113

Location 2:
Residence
938 st Nicholas ave # 25 at corner of 157th and st Nicholas ave.

Lower East Side
The Bowery Mission
45-51 Ave D
212-777-3424
contact: Claude Nelson or any "operations manager" on duty. they're open 24/7 and in need of prepared foods, a generator and anything else you can offer.

Specific Requests at Lower East Side:
Generator
Prepared Foods


RECOVERS.ORG PAGES


Occupy Wall Street & 350.org have teamed up with Recovers.org - a people-powered disaster relief platform - to help coordinate response to Hurricane Sandy in NYC. At Recovers.org we are launching support pages where people can GIVE help or post a NEED. Here is more information about this coalition.

We have started with the following Recovery pages, and more will be coming soon:

https://lowereastside.recovers.org/ - (646) 580-7473
https://astoria.recovers.org/ - (347) 669-4394
https://redhook.recovers.org - (347) 464-9269
https://statenisland.recovers.org/ - (347) 934-9927 - statenislandrecovers@gmail.com - @SIrecovers

TWITTER HASHTAGS


The following hashtags are being used for tweets related to Sandy:
#sandy
#hurricanesandy
#sandyrecovery
#sandyaid
#sandyvolunteer

| occupysandy@interoccupy.net



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#HurricaneHackers
  • Coordination
  • Twitter: @hurricanehackrs
  • email list: hurricanehackers@mit.edu
  • Hashtag: #hurricaneHackers
  • Key Links:

************

This is the main Occupy volunteer pad: SandyVolunteer | Etherpad Lite

Welcome to OCCUPY SANDY's Volunteer Network:
  1. POST AN OFFER or NEED to your fellow occupier directly through this document (cross off as needs are met!) or
  1. VOLUNTEER through the many resources provided below
Read Me:
  • Logistics!
  • Welcome! :-) Sign in + choose a name & color in the top right-hand corner, and Chat in the bottom right-hand corner.   
  • Post your OFFER or your NEED of help below, along with location atnd a way for people to contact you! Cross off needs as they are met!
  • Warnings!
  • Don't retweet requests for donations to Occupy Sandy--that is just some dude' s attempt to make money off this.
  • Emergency #s!
  • 911: for emergencies only! / 311 or text to 311692 for non-emergencies; FDNY will be able to charge life essential equiptment every 6 hrs if your area is accessible

OFFERS "I can help with..." (don't forget contact info!)
  • MANHATTAN
  • OFFER @Neiki2u: Upper West Side
  • @joallen17 EMT Certified, available to assist. Located on UpperWestSideNYC.
  • Here in East Harlem (122nd and Lex) but can help. 785.423-5280. Email: debra.whoopdeedoo@gmail.com
  • I am @jhazard I am on Upper Westside of Manhattan. I am a journalist and Web product manager. I can't code, but I want to help any projects trying to coordinate communications and information.
  • @ericaswallow here. On 96th and 2nd. I am a journalist and director of community @contently. Can't code, but able bodied and can help with coordinating communications. @jhazard above is my coworker. :)
  • I am @iamceci located in spanish harlem E 104 & 2nd Ave. Fluent in spanish, able bodied. 508-685-6923; cecilia.d.pineda@gmail.com. #sandyvolunteer let me know how i can help!
  • I am @Ayo_ARo on the Upper West Side. Able bodied, proficient in Spanish, great with people esp. kids, K-12 tutor (all subjects), resume writing and editing. Can walk to wherever I'm needed.
  • I am @shmuta- on the Upper East Side with many young people. Lots of hands! Trying to find a way to help. Have signed up but havent heard anything from anyone!
  • I am @A. I am located in Midtown but can come downtown if you require help in canvassing needs/delivering food and water.
  • BROOKLYN
  • In Central Brooklyn and can help anywhere I can walk to from Eastern Parkway and Franklin. Hit me on Twitter: @mickeysteiner
  • I'm in Prospect Heights/Crown Heights and can help anywhere I can walk to from Nostrand Ave and Prospect Place. Can carry up to 40 lbs, available Wednesday and Thursday. Find me on Twitter: @syntactics
  • I'm in Williamsburg Brooklyn, ready to help however possible! Can carry loads up to 50 lbs, available all day and night Tuesday, Halloween night, and Saturday. Gracegclarke@gmail.com, (314)757-0602
  • Also in Williamsburg. Can help. @scottmbarrett
  • I'm in Crown Heights, Brooklam I am fluent in English and Spanish and am ready to help angiewoody@gmail.com
  • I'm in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, ready to volunteer! I have a car, I'm fluent in English and Spanish, and can help however I'm needed! emmayorra@gmail.com 802 522 8215
  • I am @alexfiorillo and am in Downtown Brooklyn/Gowanus/Park Slope. Can help with whatever and am ready to volunteer!
  • I am @ngawesome in Brooklyn and will find a way to get anywhere, please email nglisko1@aol.com if you are looking for volunteers!
  • I am in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, I am able bodied, and willing to go anywhere, i speak conversational spanish and I've had a lot of experience working with children, please email katiajohnstone@gmail.com
  • I am @itsmefi and in Prospect Heights. Can help however possible and ready.
  • I am @osin located in Bushwick, BK. Willing to go anywhere and help with anything necessary.
  • I am @highlyfe87 located in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn can volunteer in Downtown BK, Gowanus, Park slope, Red hook. Can help pretty much anywhere within 2-3 miles. email bkcachaco07@gmail.com
  • In Flatbush, can walk up to 4 miles to help. @kmgrimm or kmgrimm@gmail.com.
  • In downtown Brooklyn, ready and willing to help. I speak English & Russian, call me at (347)-834-6805.
  • I've got a car, bunch of carpentry tools/skills, bike mantainence skills, willing to make/transport food, manual labor, build stuff, tear stuff down, dig stuff out. My wife is registered nurse. live in Clinton Hill BK (patrickfbrosnan@gmail.com)
  • I'm @alyanumbers and am in Crown Heights. I have a bike and can deliver small-ish packages around Brooklyn (or even up to Manhattan). I speak French and Arabic (and some Spanish).
  • @precursor and I have a car, HAM radio equipment (and license of course) and a basic set of tools. Skills involve communications and construction.
  • QUEENS
  • @chuuuckDEE here, based in Jamaica, Qns. able-bodied and down to assist w/ the effort..
  • I'm available to lend a hand in Astoria Queens near Astoria Blvd stop. @helenamusic send me a DM
  • I can also lend a hand in Astoria Queens. pointslou@gmail.com
  • I'm available to help in the East Elmhurst/Astoria area. Ready, willing and able to work at whatever. DM me at @AgentArmando pls with details
  • Hi, Jake here in Woodside, Queens. I'm a carpenter / handyman with tools - ready to offer my labor or just help out in general. Contact me on Twitter: @jm4277k
  • Hi, I'm @misaqui, living in Sunnyside-11104. Count on me to help in the Area.
  • I live in Flushing, have minimal hours and no car, but am nevertheless eager to help. Skills in childcare, senior aid, animal care, and writing @chicathlete424, scfrager@gmail.com
  • Also able-bodied, looking to help. Astoria Ditmars, no car, but if transportation can be arranged, will travel. hairlessOrphan@gmail.com
  • BRONX
  • Need ride to shelter in Bronx? send DM to me @corinne565
  • I have a bag of clothes for woman size L and Men XXL - pants, shirts, shoes....willing to travel to the city tomorrow or rent a zipcar to drive to other affected areas. Can also lift 50+ lbs, donate canned goods, organize and assist. Email Jrrose29@aol.com
  • STATEN ISLAND
  • NJ
  • In Northern NJ and can also be available to travel to shore points above GSP exit 100. Good with elderly and children, shelters, food distro., etc. @joanschulhafer
  • LONG ISLAND
  • Able bodied man in Lindenhurst willing to help in person with efforts on LI. s end me a direct message @greenguy808
  • CONNECTICUT
  • @girmann in Hartford county - willing to help.
  • TRANSLATOR/INTERPRETER OF SPANISH AND PORTUGUESE AVAILABE TO VOLUNTEER-ASSIST IN NEW HAVEN CT and surrounding areas WWW.BALDWINLINGUAS.COM 203-759-8352 << thx!
  • UPSTATE NY
  • If you need help in Albany, NY I'm here! @lego606
  • I am @RixeyBrowning located in the Poughkeepsie area, I am an EMT-B and can speak Spanish, my partner is a street medic. Heading down to NYC today to see what we can do.
  • MISC
  • Anything else I can do from here let me know! @maddiesully
  • Will be stateside in 12 days approx. Hard hit areas with little relief I'll come to with clean water, blankets, canned food. Let me know areas needing assistance @davidlasher or davidlasher.us/contact

NEEDS "I need help with..." (don't forget contact info!)
  • MANHATTAN
  • @CheshireAndrea We need someone in lower Manhattan to take a home bound paraplegic some distilled water & 2 car batteries.
  • BROOKLYN
  • Park slope food coop has 3 boxes of apples to go to red hook initiative. traffic is terrible - anyone with a bike that could carry a box there? @jhollar
  • QUEENS
  • The Rockaways need hot food, water, warmth - no other agencies like Red Cross, etc are there!  
  • BRONX
  • STATEN ISLAND
  • 911 is swamped, want people to know that Grant City in Staten Island is completely flooded. I am trapped at 220 Adams Ave on the 2nd floor with about 10 people including elderly and children. The first floor is flooded and all cars are underwater. We are calm, but boats and any kind of help would be good. Power is also out. URENT, POSTING FOR A FRIEND, CAN ANYONE HELP THESE PEOPLE PLEASE << can you give some contact info so I can help? -@justinwedes << this looks tto be same NEED as  https://twitter.com/jopoduimom/status/263120618294226944, going to investigate now <<HAS THIS NEED BEEN MET? Please confirm
  • Urgent per residents interviewed on CNN: emergency shelters are running out of food; dead body count at 14 so far but expected to be higher as many, many homes are collapsed and have not been explored yet.
MISC
  • Manhattan Beach needs hot food, water, warmth - no other agencies like Red Cross, etc are there!  

Other Volunteer Opportunities:
  • NATIONAL
  • NEW YORK CITY (General)
  • Shelter volunteers, volunteer 4 hours of your time: Jahmila Joseph, of Public Advocate's officer, seeking volunteers in city shelters. Fill out this form: http://bit.ly/volunteer-sandy or email jjoseph@pubadvocate.nyc.gov
  • MANHATTAN
  • BROOKLYN
  • Brooklyn Bridge Cleanup (Wed October 31, 9am-12pm + 2pm-5pm), rvsp: sward@brooklynbridgepark.org
  • John Jay High School (evac shelter) volunteers needed, 6-8hrs
  • Park Slope Armory (medical/frail shelter) volunteers needed, 6-8hrs
  • QUEENS
  • STATEN ISLAND
  • NJ
  • LONG ISLAND
  • UPSTATE / HUDSON VALLEY
  • (Other cities, Nov 3rd meetings via CrisisCommons)
  • BOSTON
  • DC
  • PORTLAND, OR
  • AUCKLAND ZEALAND
  • GALAWAY, IRELAND
  • SAN FRANCISCO
  • SEATTLE

Other Places to Seek Assistance:

Donations:

Helpful apps!:

Animal Rescue:

Other Resources:
  • includes drop off locations for donation items
  • Facebook page:
  • Twitter:
  • @OccupySandy
  • @Occuweather << live tweets from a recovery boat near Chelsea Pier
  • @TrickorAid
  • @HC_Sandy (run by allies of @OccupyPolice)
  • @OccupyWallStNYC
  • @350
  • @NYCMayorsOffice
  • @globalrevlive
  • @SIrecovers (Staten Island recovery hashtag)
  • Storify:
  • Maps
  • Maps of incidents / help needed:
  • Map of shelters:

#HurricaneHackers
  • Coordination
  • Twitter: @hurricanehackrs
  • email list: hurricanehackers@mit.edu
  • Hashtag: #hurricaneHackers
  • Key Links:

Neighborhood.recovers.org sites (also mentioned above):

*****************
This is the HurricaneHackers link list

Front Page Hurricane Hackers. Github code base HurricaneHackers.

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The EFF is fighting for open internets - this is exactly why: the Net access right now is fucked up and bullshit.

Why We Have An Open Wireless Movement | Electronic Frontier Foundation

Why We Have An Open Wireless Movement - OpenWireless.org

EFF believes open networks are crucial in hurricane-affected areas

Update: In response to the impact of Hurricane Sandy, Comcast is opening its XFINITY WiFi hotspots to non-Comcast subscribers in PA, NJ, DE, MD, DC, VA, WV, MA, NH and ME until Nov. 7. Users should search for the network "xfinitywifi" and click on "Not a Comcast subscriber?" at the bottom of the sign-in page. Users should select the "Complimentary Trial Session" option from the drop down list. TheOpen Wireless Movement thanks Comcast for helping out!

In troubled times, it's important to help each other out. Right now, we're witnessing an unprecedented hurricane hitting the Eastern Seaboard of the United States, and the ensuing damage and power outages are crippling rescue efforts, businesses large and small, and personal communications.

Communication is critical in time of crisis, and the Internet allows for the most effective way of getting information in and out. With readily available networks, government officials could use tools like Twitter to quickly spread information, citizen reports could help focus assistance where it is needed most, and social media updates could help reassure friends and loved ones—keeping mobile phone lines open for emergencies.

To take advantage of the Internet, people should not have to attempt to skirt restrictive Terms of Service to attempt to tether their smartphones. And tethering would not be necessary if there were ubiquitous open wireless, so that anyone with a connection and power can share their network with the neigborhood.

Last year, we wrote a post titled "Why We Need An Open Wireless Movement." Today, EFF is proud to announce the launch of the Open Wireless Movement—located at openwireless.org—a coalition effort put forth in conjunction with nine other organizations: Fight for the Future, Free Press, Internet Archive, NYCwireless, the Open Garden Foundation, OpenITP, the Open Spectrum Alliance, the Open Technology Institute, and the Personal Telco Project.

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Here is the big ol index from HurricaneHackers: Linklist - Google Drive

   

#HurricaneHackers: Home | Linklist | Projects | Github | IRC


HurricaneHackers - link list for #Sandy emergency resources & more

*

#HurricaneHackers: Home | Linklist | Projects | Github | IRC

HurricaneHackers - link list for #Sandy emergency resources & more

Communicate w/ No Cell Service http://opengarden.com http://hackerdemia.com

Maps

System

Wind

Water

Evacuation

Official Data

Forecasts

Models

Images

Historical Hurricane Data

Miscellaneous

Crowdsourced Data

Ushahidi/Crowdmap

Streams

Amateur Radio

Images

Social Media

Aggregators

News / PSAs

Governments / NGOs

Important Articles / Posts

Twitter

Code / APIs / Repositories

Social Media

Timelines

#hurricanehackers Coordination

#HurricaneHackers key links:


Communicate w/ No Cell Service http://opengarden.com http://hackerdemia.com

Maps

System


Wind




Water


Evacuation



Power

Needs/Supplies:

  • Red Hook Initiative – Texting Needed Supplies to Collaborative Map (@jrbaldwinn):
    • TEXT Hurricane Needs to: (347)778-0570
    • Format by: Need @ Location i.e. "Gas, Water Pump @ Van Brundt and Pioneer Brooklyn"
    • Auto populates map data here for responders: https://rhiwifi.co/hurricane/

Official Data

Forecasts

  • NOAA/NWS Seven Day forecast including hourly output and current watchocation. link
  • WUnderground state-by-state breakdown: http://goo.gl/hDD1N

Models

Images

http://tinyurl.com/hurricaneSandyNRL2


Storm Briefings
NWS Office Philly

Transitioning from hurricane to Post-Tropical Storm
Topics : How, When, Why weather advisories will come from as the storm goes through Frankenstorm mode
http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/news/20121027_pa_sandyTransition.pdf

Historical Hurricane Data

Miscellaneous

Crowdsourced Data

Ushahidi/Crowdmap



Streams

Amateur Radio


  • hurricane Watch Net: 14.325.00 MHz; 7.268 MHz; 3.950 Mhz

Images


Social Media


Aggregators



News / PSAs

Governments / NGOs


Important Articles / Posts


Twitter


  • #Sandy, #ZoneA, #Frankenstorm, any other hashtags popular?
    • Boston: #BoSandy
    • New York: #NYSandy, #NYCSandy
    • New Jersey: #NJSandy
    • Virginia: #VASandy
    • Pennsylvania: #PASandy
    • New Hampshire: #NHSandy
    • Maine: #MESandy
    • Richmond: #SandyRVA
    • Maryland: #SandyMD
    • DC: #SandyDC
  • Matt Noyes, NECN meterologist : https://twitter.com/MattNoyesNECN ; has technical livestreams here: http://goo.gl/0oTf7
  • FEMA Administrator: https://twitter.com/craigatfema
  • NY Scanner: https://twitter.com/NYScanner

Transportation

Code / APIs / Repositories

Social Media

Timelines

#hurricanehackers Coordination


#HurricaneHackers key links:

  1. Index: http://bit.ly/hh-index
  2. Linklist: http://bit.ly/hh-linklist
  3. Projects: http://bit.ly/hh-projects-read
  4. Lulz: http://brownbag.me:9001/p/sandylulz
  5. Chat: IRC, Freenode, #hurricanehackers: http://irc.lc/freenode/hurricanehackers

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Top Tips for Using Social Media for Local Community Disaster Recovery - Google Drive

DRAFT - Top Tips for Using Social Media for Local Community Disaster Recovery

Drafting led by Steven Clift, E-Democracy.org
Join our Neighbors Online Webinar on Nov. 14

What can you do with social media and online tools for your neighbors who make up your local community?

As we move from emergency response to long-term recovery, here are some collective tips from the “locals online” community (join your peers for tips and advice).

  1. People matter more than tools. Don’t spend hours searching for the perfect tool, if you are willing to step up for your building, your block, your broader neighborhood or community, etc. it is your leadership that matters. Combining your willingness to digitally organize your neighbors with the best social media tools for you - be it compiling a cc: e-mail group of forty households or creating online groups using the latest social media tool for thousands - what matters most is your energy and dedication to reach out to your neighbors in every way possible. Be an e-leader for your community. You won’t regret it.
  2. Tools do matter. Pick your social media tools carefully and think about what your neighbors will actually use. Even if you are the right person with good communication skills and the ability to quickly establish trust among those neighbors you gather online, picking the wrong tool or relying on a single tool may not work. Just because a tool has great visual design or all the fancy features does not mean it will work with people stuck on smart phones for example who just prefer to use e-mail, Facebook, etc.
  3. Gather email addresses, mobile phone numbers, and other contact information first. Having email addresses and mobile phones numbers in your possession allow you to actively reach people. The ability to “broadcast” to your nearest neighbors with full control over when, who, etc. matters particularly if you want to reach older residents who do not “live on Facebook.” With complete control over the distribution of important information, this allows you to use different tools and approaches without being locked in by a single website. Here is a paper sign-up template you can adapt.
  4. Connect people horizontally by creating an online group for your local building/block/neighborhood/community. Name it by your place generally so it can last over the long-term as a space for neighbor connecting so you are better prepared for the next disaster. Invite people to join - often in-person, on paper flyers, etc. as well as online. Remember that the technology is the easy part. Be as inclusive as possible and don’t forget renters and lower income residents. Here are some tools to review (someone please draft and a add link). Note: Some neighborhoods still have thriving YahooGroups from a decade ago, a local “place blog” with an active web forum, etc. - join forces with them rather than recreating the wheel. Do a quick search (links to come). Some tools:
    • Facebook Groups: If you want to use Facebook, create a Facebook Group not a Facebook Page. Facebook Pages are a terrible tool for sustained group communication. Note that at about 150 members in a group, Facebook switches the default email notification setting to only send you notices when your friends posts. This is a negative, but Facebook is still a good way to quickly gather people online. You can always add the use of other tools later. Facebook Groups are better for smaller areas, but don’t scale well “community participation” wise because of the hidden notification issue. Two more concerns - the public officials you want to respond to your exchanges are often blocked from social media at work and by choosing Facebook at the core you’ve eliminated half the Internet users over 50. If you have older folks on your block that you want to include, this means you need to reach then another way. Therefore do not underestimate the simple power of an effective email list to break through computer firewalls.
    • E-mail lists: YahooGroups, Google Groups, and more. Note that you need to use tools like Mailman or others IF you want to be able to use paper sign-up sheets as the big online hosts no longer allow you to “add” people. Now you may only invite them which means lots will not click on the confirmation link. For a “social media maven,” paper sign-up sheets for e-mail lists may seem old fashioned but this is exactly what the Presidential campaigns do - collect e-mail and Zipcode everywhere and then communication build from there. They wouldn’t do it if it didn’t work. E-Democracy goes door to door with the neighbors online efforts in St. Paul. It works to reach lots of people who aren’t already among the most wired or most socially connected.

    • NextDoor, .St, Others
  5. Pick your scale and openness. You need to decide if you want to organize 30 households or connect an area with hundreds or thousands of residents. At the building or block level you probably want private online spaces while covering full neighborhoods you want to be far more open and inclusive. You want your public exchanges to be easy to find and open to local community organizations, places of worship, local businesses and government. You are all in this together and private resident-only spaces covering population areas over ~1000 residents will absolutely limit your success and potentially lead to greater community conflict. If you are are focusing on your nearest neighbors ovef a few streets or in your building, here is a rough Google Doc template you can copy and adapt or view as a sample form.

  1. Twitter can be useful for spontaneous networking and quick dissolution of group connections. On Twitter use hyper-local hashtags using #place or #placeXX at a level that isn’t too local so you can reach a critical mass and not so large that it is not useful for exchange.

  1. Specialty Tools for Response/Recovery: Recovers.org, Ushahidi

  1. Interaction matters. The government and media will feed you lots of one-way information, but when it comes to very local information your neighbors are both the producers and consumers. No matter the tool, the key is email notification where participants can at least be told about what's new and better yet publish via e-mail as well to the community. If you are going to be that local e-leader, the most important thing to do once you choose your tool is to organize people and spread the word in-person.
  2. Add you own, re-order, etc.



This article is informed by E-Democracy.org 18 years of experience with local online community building including our failed experience with support local “neighbours forums” in Christchurch, New Zealand after there big earthquake. In short, supporting two regional volunteers we skipped our “you must have a local volunteer forum leader and 100 initial members in place to open” requirement. The desperate need for communication to assist community recovery did not generate local volunteers even with 1000 participants recruited but spread out over 25 forums. So, in short the real world lesson is that no block, building, neighborhood or community will successfully connect in a trusted community building manner without at least one person in that area stepping up an an authentically local leader.

*****************

Anyway hope this helps!! Good luck folks.

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