NIMS and ICS were developed and further refined out of the need for a unified management structure for response response operations. Since its evolution more that began more than 30 years ago, systems and technologies have begun to challenge the existing models. Hal Grieb, a former Texas emergency manager and social media contributer, points out that as frameworks, NIMS and ICS allows tools such as social media to be implemented during a response, but the frameworks lacks the necessary guidance to address social media.
So is it a supporting technology or a new box in a command stracture?
Adame Crowe, an emergency manager from Johnson County, KS and Hal have discussed two perspectives. Adam discussed some of the structural issues associated with delegation as our capabilities (with social media), including having not grown with our current command systems and our readiness to handle all that independent attention that social media requires is lacking. Hal also raised interesting points about the ability to delegate, which is absolutely correct.
Often in COOP plans, we talk about succession and clearly delineate (hopefully) each persons role in succession, including roles and responsibilities and their authority. Social media in emergency management (#smem), though, barely has these roles and responsibilities identified as best practices are still being developed and socialized. Everyday new best practices are being developed and they are often very unique to each jurisdiction that has put in the time and effort to address this complex issue, often on the preparedness side, not the response side.
If you delegate this to the PIO, training is NOT enough. The PIO must be explicitly aware of his or her roles and responsibilities to support social media in a managed response. The PIO needs to know where he or she has the flexibility (often dependent on the incident) to "run with it" and where he or she should hold back due to potential conflict with operations. This is why a revision of the JIC/JIS is necessary...to help incorporate the operational roles of social media so that it can be delegated appropriately in a command structure.