Studying social technologies and communities of volunteers in emergency management
Communities of volunteers are fundamental agents in the emergency management process. In spite of the unquestionable value that social technologies could bring to such communities of volunteers it is not clear whether they are exploiting all their potential and why. This work presents a qualitative study with volunteers from different emergency communities with the purpose of establishing design challenges to better leverage social technologies that can augment the capabilities of such communities. The results of the study suggest the need to address specific design challenges related to reliability, integrity, and efficient analysis of information. In addition, the integration of multiple interaction mechanisms and shared calendars as well as the design of effective and adaptive messages for crisis communications are also considered important aspects by emergency volunteers.