the longtail of the deployment

This is a quick infographic I made while thinking about a phenomenon that often occurs around Ushahidi deployments. You can sort of think of this as a ‘spectrum of interest’ over the life of a disaster or crisis event. I’ve mulled this over for a while, but the idea for the graphic came on a call this morning with Steven Longmire, Catherine Graham and Nicholas Bartlett (from GeoOp) who wanted to discuss the Christchurch quake deployment.

On one side you’ve got peak concern, enthusiasm and interest. An event occurs, the media explodes with coverage and people get involved. This is what I define as the attention stage. It also happens to be where the most data gathering or surveillance occurs. Participation, whether it be experts to experts, volunteers to volunteers or experts to volunteers is critical because everyone needs as much information as possible. Meanwhile, the public’s (the victim’s) needs are also at their peak. Urgency and momentum is highest here.

As the scenario unfolds, we move into what I call the advocacy stage. This is usually where public attention, and mass media coverage tends to stabilize and decline. The focus becomes less about what’s occurred, and more about mobilizing resources to do something. This is also where knowledge is transfered, groups tend to convene on the ground to begin the next phase.

The last stage is what I call the accountability stage. It’s where recovey happens, public attention was waned as people are drawn to whatever big event is now in the news. Groups who’ve made themselves accountable now deal with the real difficulties, the expectations of the public to do something with the data they’ve collected.

Now obviously, there is no clear linear separation between the three of these, it’s much more diffuse, and individual interactions or actions may move through all of these phases at different paces. For instance, the request from someone in the public for help, equally is urgent, requires analysis/action, and needs someone accountable for following through. Also, where these ‘stages’ meet, it’s important to consider the role of the technology in place. A tool in place to manage one process, may not be the same tool required to manage another. However, I’m well aware of efforts to make the Ushahidi platform more efficient at traversing each of these stages, if only to allow it to communicate with tools that were designed for each vertical (for instance GeoOp really shines in the Advocacy and Accountability stages).

Anyways, this is just my own visual brainstorming. I’d love the feedback from anyone who has thoughts on this and how I can improve the graphic.