have the ability to obtain additional information, the effectiveness of the message will be limited. Although a “clickable” link to additional information may not be feasible (and indeed is not permitted in the initial release of CMAS), it still may be possible to reference secondary sources such as broadcast radio and television or Web sites.
Message testing and audience analysis will play an important role in CMAS. Post-event analysis can provide some of the best information regarding public response and the effectiveness of the messages that were sent.
Emergency managers or public information officers may encounter difficulties when they experiment with using social media. First, the managers’ or PIOs’ leadership may be uncomfortable with the relative loss of control with respect to how an alerting message is distributed, compared to traditional dissemination methods. Second, the information technology systems in the agency may block access to social media Web sites and services. Addressing both of these issues will require new policies that support the use of social media.
Communication during a crisis has benefits beyond public response. Communicating with others during crisis can be cathartic; reconstituting a sense of community is a critical function of communication systems.