Red tape preventing officials from fully integrating social media
In this digital age, when disaster hits, there's a race to get information out via social media as soon as possible.
Twitter reports there were 20 million tweets mentioning "Sandy" or "hurricane" between Saturday and Thursday of last week.
Citizens had the luxury of being able to say what they wanted, when they wanted, and were able to tweet information within seconds. Emergency officials and governments, meanwhile, found it more difficult to keep up with dispersing their own information.
Jennie Phillips, who studies disaster relief and and the online engagement of civil society at the University of Toronto, says governments have come across a stumbling block as they try to integrate social media into their response - red tape. There are several approval steps required before they can release any information at all.
"It's not working when you have to go through the hierarchy."
Phillips says her research is looking at the formation of digital volunteer groups that would be able to post information without all the red tape.
"To be able to work towards outsourcing those sorts of activities in a way that you can still ensure quality is a way of maybe bridging the two worlds," she says.