Benefits and Pitfalls of Using Social Media and Other Technologies in Risk and Crisis Communication
Social media is a great tool that allows people involved in a crisis to have an immediate voice and presence. It is a perfect method to inform the other team members that one is aware of the situation at hand and that they are doing something to alleviate the situation. To offer assurance, constant updates are necessary and these days, the use of hashtags is necessary. Social media and other technologies provide a platform for an early warning system. Through social media, it is easy to pass important information about an impending situation. Social media allows responsible parties to have a feeling of how mitigation measures are being received by the public, especially through comments. With technology, it is easy to track the progress on recovery of a project. With social media, it is easy for authorities and management to determine the level of trust it has among other stakeholders.
On the downside, social media is capable of providing wrong or misleading information, especially because people might use pseudo accounts. This might create a very negative perception about the situation at hand. The use of multiple channels can be exhausting and overwhelming. In case of negativity, especially on the comments section, project owners might feel demoralized.
When dealing with a crisis, different methods must be considered. First, the authorities and other stakeholders must take responsibility and be proactive. Second, they must be transparent and accountable to the others and to the public, if the matter is a public matter. Third, managers must get ahead of the story and brace for a social media and mainstream media backlash. Fourth, one should first understand the situation and communicate appropriately.
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