[Offtopic] PoliticsOnline, February 13 2009.

stephen at melbpc.org.au stephen at melbpc.org.au
Sun Feb 15 03:00:45 EST 2009

> From:   PoliticsOnline <editor at politicsonline.com>
> Date:   Fri, 13 Feb 2009 17:06:54 -0500 (EST) 
> Subject: Weekly NetPulse - In Australia, Social Media Sweeps Past Gov't 

Weekly NetPulse
World Edition
Feb 13 2009 
In Australia, Social Media Sweeps Past Government Bureaucracy 

In the aftermath of the worst wildfire in Australia's history, 
authorities and survivors are questioning whether a formal alert system 
of text messages or phone calls to warn residents of approaching 
wildfires might have saved lives. The sweeping wildfires that blazed 
across southeastern Australia last week killed 181 people. 

The AP reports, "In Victoria, there is no formal alert system of text 
messages or phone calls to warn residents of approaching wildfires." 
Australian officials reported that the fierce intensity and fast-changing 
direction of the fires make sirens, email and other warning systems 
ineffective, but Victoria state Premier John Brumby said, "A national 
emergency warning system for wildfires should be considered, and that he 
wrote to Prime Minister Kevin Rudd about the idea months ago.

The Australian Newspaper reports, "Attorney General Robert McClelland, 
working to expedite a nation-wide warning system utilizing cells and text 
messaging claims that the system was ready for deployment months prior to 
the fires but was delayed .. " 

Social media tools such as Twitter, Facebook and Flickr, as was true in 
the cases of the Mumbai Terrorist attacks and the California wildfires, 
were the first, most credible and raw sources of information during the 
disaster. Mark Parker from SmartSellingBlog reflected on social media and 
the wildfires saying, "It angers me that as I was getting official 
reports from credible, reliable sources this same information was taking 
hours to get distributed into the mainstream community. The TV either 
wasn't up to date or the networks felt it wasn't important enough to run 
anything more than hourly updates - it's not like they don't know how to 
use ticker updates." 

(The Australian) Plea on Automated Emergency Messaging 

(NY Times) Australia Wildfire Suspects Are Freed 

(AP) Australian official: Wildfire deaths will pass 200 

(ABC) Social Media Explodes in Wake of Deadly Bushfires 

"Quote Of The Week" 
Australian Politicians Enter The World of New Media, Follow in Footsteps 
of Obama

"The sooner our politicians see the internet as a vehicle for two-way 
communication, not a new medium for old static press statements, the 
sooner the inclusive, democratic and liberating power of online 
engagement will be harnessed in the same way Obama did - to such a 
transformative effect." - Ed Coper, campaigns director at online activist 
group GetUp.


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