The Safety Authority Rotterdam-Rijnmond is responsible for the public safety in the region Rotterdam-Rijnmond. They are situated in a majestic office at the Kop van Zuid with a panorama view over the whole regional area. Communication advisor Jasper van Vugt states that the authority uses social media software in their two main activities. On one hand, analysing regional social media messages is very important in signalling incidents. They monitor social media and take action on the retrieved information. On the other hand, they actively communicate with citizens and other stakeholders via social media. Social media is a very important channel in how they inform citizens.
"We use Coosto on a structural basis to monitor situations. As a public assistant we deal with fires, accidents or other incidents on a daily basis. We focus a lot on prevention, but some situations we cannot prevent. That’s why we have a realtime dashboard with live information. Social media monitoring functions as an important signal for us: we easily retrieve important information from public social media messages.”
When we signal an incident or danger, we first decide to take action or not. Jasper explains: “We want to know what’s happening outside, if there’s an incident or not. Social media monitoring is a magnificent tool for this. Sometimes incidents have a very small effect on their surroundings, sometimes they have a bigger effect. Thus, we always consider if we should take action or not. Sometimes an incident will be handled by the local government which makes it irrelevant to us. But when we do decide to take action, we immediately chart the situation and project it on a realtime online dashboard. We internally share this dashboard with all stakeholders.
“I think we are obliged to use the power of conversation,” Jasper continues. In case of an incident, I set up a search query in Coosto based on words that describe the situation and based on location. If there is a fire on the Erasmus bridge for instance, I search for messages in which “fire” or “smoke” and “Rotterdam” or “Erasmusbrug” are mentioned, but I also search for all messages sent from within a specific radius of the Erasmus bridge. This means that I can also collect messages not mentioning fire, but which could also contain important information. For me, the key features of Coosto are unlimited search, realtime monitoring and realtime analytics of social media messages."