Successful Final Conference for COSMIC

The COSMIC Final Conference was held on 26th February 2015 in Brussels, Belgium. The conference centred around three key themes: (1) crisis & social media with concrete use cases; (2) ethical, legal, and social considerations; (3) guidelines and good practices for new media. Throughout the one-day event, captivating presentations were delivered and informative question and answer panel sessions were held, as well as a lunch break that provided good networking opportunities.

The keynote speech of the Conference was delivered by Stuart Allan, Professor at Cardiff University, who spoke about the images of crisis that are portrayed in the news in comparison to those shown by citizen witnesses. During the day, more practical examples of the use of social media were demonstrated by two case studies – one on the use of social media during a large-scale (hail)storm in Antwerp and the other on the practicalities of the social media strategy of the Greater Manchester Police.

Throughout the Conference, a key notion was common in all the presentations – citizens want to and should be involved in crisis management via social media. The accounts of citizens are oftentimes more raw and real than those presented by news agencies, and can therefore give first responders a more realistic insight into the situation.

Part of the Conference was also dedicated to the introduction of the COSMIC Guidelines for the use of new media in crisis situations. The Guidelines aim to enhance the safety and security of citizens by supporting both citizens and public authorities in their use of social media to complement their crisis management efforts. The COSMIC Guidelines are split in two sets of tips and tricks for public authorities and for the public. A consultation on the COSMIC Guidelines (available here) is currently open and will last until 13th March 2015.

More than 70 people attended the COSMIC Final Conference, including representatives from the industry, government, civil society organisations, as well as the academia. Thanks to the interesting presentations and active participation from the attendees, the COSMIC Final Conference turned out to be a great success for the project.

Presentations from the conference are available here: http://www.cosmic-project.eu/Working_Documents