Several conversations in the last couple of weeks with public safety officers (police and response managers mostly) have led me to conclude that the impact of Virginia Tech is spreading from college campuses to local government officials. I predicted here, shortly after the VT tragedy, that if students expect instant multi-mode communication from those responsible for their safety, will Joe Blow on the street be far behind. Turns out the answer is about 12 months behind. Officials are thinking about and planning how to more quickly, efficiently and effectively notify any and all citizens who want to be in whatever form they choose.
Notification companies continue to proliferate, merge, move and introduce new advanced communication technology. This is great but it also is very clear that the fundamental message about this they we have consistently tried to communicate is more appropriate than ever: Notification is not communication. Sending a 140 character text message only starts a process–it does not end it. If you cannot instantly follow that text message up with comprehensive communication management–push, pull and interactive–you have created a hungry beast that you will fail to feed. And the beast will eat you alive.