This blog, written by an amateur, will hopefully evolve to be interesting to others as well as affect change on a global basis. And the best way to affect change globally is to start locally. To pick up the cigarette butt on the corner. Cliche? Sure, but damnit it works.
The biggest screamingly loud demand, need, I see in the world of social software is a distributed method of responding to a crisis. We just had Katrina hit and she was a bitch by any measure. Lives were lost. Pause on that sentence, lives were lost. The most sacred thing we are capable of creating or destroying, lives, were lost as a result of poor human organizational skills. I don’t want to know who accepts responsibility, I want to know that disaster is prevented before it occurs.
To that end I want to state that we need a simplified RSS type system to track data in an emergency. No one site can handle all emergency response. Even if it could it would create a single point of failure. We need something as simple as RSS, call it emergency RSS or ERSS, to handle the needs that arise in an emergency.
Let me step back and repeat the basis for the need. With Katrina, which hit in 2005, what I observed were numerous sites heroically put up, only to go down once they were picked up by the blogosphere and the media. Go here for help “¦ everyone does globally including the curious from other countries “¦. Server dies. Nobody gets help. Next site is suggested. Repeat the process.
Yet when it comes to blogs and news we can easily replicate with RSS our posts. Even if one server went down, the outline of the content would still be cached at feedburner or similar. So if in time of crisis 10 sites had relevant content of who is looking for what, who needs what, who needs to be dispatched where, then if one goes down you still have 9 sites up and replication of 100% of the content on each node. This is just like DNS. I am not inventing anything here. I am just screaming that we should have this in place for times of crisis already.