Web Collaboration and the Red Cross
As a candidate for employment for the International Red Cross, in an Information Technology (IT) management role, I explore the use (or potentially lacking implementation) of emerging communications and internet technologies. Should the Red Cross more widely adopt these technologies in an effort to meet their stated mission to ease human suffering and save lives? I specifically look at mass collaboration and the use of social media, in natural disaster occurrences worldwide. If hired, I would make the recommendations from the conclusion a priority in this position during the first 36 months of employment.
In its long history, the International Red Cross or more formally the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), has become known as an impartial, neutral, and primary responder to natural disasters, wherever they might occur in the world. Several disasters in recent history have caused many to wonder if the occurrence of natural disasters is on the rise. Recently, we have all heard about the hurricanes in the United States gulf region, earthquakes in Haiti, Chili, Indonesia, and Mexico, and now the much reported earthquake and tsunami that so badly devastated the island nation of Japan. There are too many recent natural disasters to list here, but all of these caused human suffering, widespread devastation, and massive loss of human life.
What has humanity learned in the aftermath of Katrina, and how can social media play an important role in reconnecting survivors, alerting first responders to areas and people in critical need of assistance, and during the long recovery that invariably follows? With the long-standing hesitation by government authorities to allow citizen-reporting of events due to fear of misinformation, should this prevailing attitude continue to deter use of social networking technology in a crisis? Some would say that...