volunteers begin to appreciate the significance of their work. This feedback is one of the primary motivation tools during a deployment.
Observations on the dynamics of social media offered by workshop panelists and participants in the discussion that followed the panel session included the following:
• Comparing the dynamics of social media use during non-emergency situations with those of emergency situations can be incredibly complicated. Each emergency situation involves unique factors that affect how social dynamics develop. For example, during a terrorist attack one can anticipate a more adversarial climate and the potential for terrorists to exploit misinformation as part of their attack, whereas during a natural disaster there is less incentive to provide misinformation. During natural disasters, misinformation typically stems from constant rereporting of old news, although there is a possibility that awareness of limited resources could create an incentive and a desire to share misinformation so as to provide oneself with supplies before others.
• An important factor in the use of social media tools and sites is the motivation of participants. As with the DARPA challenges, a financial incentive to participate can lead to a large sensor network, but can also create an inducement to interfere with others’ work. If the stakes are lower, so also are the incentives to participate as well as to cause harm, thus reducing the concerns about significant interference. A question is how to use incentives to increase participation without also increasing interference. This problem is a primary reason that the Standby Task Force does not use financial incentives.
• Another option for preventing distribution of poor data is to limit the participation of anonymous workers. However, requiring that participants be non-anonymous would increase the effort required to register as a volunteer and would slow participation.
• The use of identity systems, even a readily available one such as Facebook’s, also requires additional lead time, which is limited during disasters. Online identity structures are discussed further in the next chapter.
• A system that uses a hierarchy of social media users may be helpful for ensuring that information is accurate prior to its dissemination during a crisis. An example of an online hierarchy of users is Wikipedia, which provides a classic example of how increased popularity changes the dynamics of a social Web site. Wikipedia was initially very egalitarian: everyone could contribute and everyone had basic editing rights. As