How social media can disrupt your crisis management efforts

It’s now easier than ever to create, share and post content on social media. Not only for businesses and organizations, but also for individuals.

With a smartphone in their hand, they can easily take a picture or a video and post it on their different social media accounts in a fraction of a second.

This is one of main reasons why social media should not be overlooked by businesses and organizations in times of crisis.

Hand holding smartphone with social media applications
Photo by Tracy Le Blanc from Pexels

There is no time!

Businesses and organizations used to have time to react to a crisis, to think about different strategies, about how and when to communicate the information to the public…Now? There is no time! Someone out there probably already knows what is going on and can’t wait to be the first person to share it on social media.

In October 2014, during the shooting at Parliament Hill in Ottawa, “…many Twitter users began reporting the location of officers on the ground and sharing images of snipers who had armed the roofs of many nearby buildings.” Nicole Bogart, Global News

This definitely impacted the way the Ottawa Police and RCMP had to deal with the situation at hand. Because of everything that was being shared on Twitter, they not only had to deal with the emergency on the ground, they also had to deal with citizens who were constantly posting and sharing their observations on social media.

By Amika Alert on Twitter

This is just one of many examples that shows how social media can come with its share of challenges during a crisis. This also shows the importance of having someone to monitor and manage your social media accounts when dealing with a crisis. Social media can certainly not be ignored.

It’s not all bad

Even though social media can sometimes interfere with your crisis management efforts, it can also help you communicate directly with the public. The fact that everyone can now take pictures and videos easily can also be a good thing. It actually became an asset for the Ottawa Police and the RCMP during the shooting, because they were able to get pictures and videos that were taken from different locations at different times.

By the Ottawa Police on Twitter

How about you? Have you ever had to deal with a similar situation in the course of your career? Or, do you know any other organizations that had to put out fires on social media while dealing with a crisis?

Twitter post

Learn how #socialmedia can disrupt your #crisismanagement efforts

Facebook post

Wonder how social media can compromise your crisis management efforts? Read my blog to learn more:

3 thoughts on “How social media can disrupt your crisis management efforts

  1. I love this post! It has been a long time since I have heard anything about the 2014 Shooting at Parliament (RIP Nathan Carrillo), but YES I remember seeing on Facebook back in the day (when I was on the platform) that people were being told not to say anything about where the police were stationed. I do agree that Social Media can bring us together, but also be disruptive and sometimes people do not think of those things!

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