Tag Archives: crisis communication

Crisis Management As Reality Show

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Photo by Brett Zongker, WIVB.com

District of Columbia Police Chief Cathy Lanier

A crisis nowadays brings out the hardcore working women in positions of leadership. Unfortunately, that’s the only time we really see them in wide media, as they are certainly not pop stars, singers, actors, dancers, and two-bit celebs and such.

Two we met yesterday, via mass media, were District of Columbia Police Chief, Cathy Lanier, and Dr. Janis M. Orlowski, chief operating officer at Washington Hospital Center.

Youths, these are the faces of career women in positions of genuine leadership. Not made-up and styled-up for a TV show or a date-night-out, but caught out doing their jobs. And in a crisis at that.

There’s your reality show.

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Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed Carpe Diem-ing

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Mayor Reed is savvy like a media fox. He sees nothing anywhere he turns right now, in Atlanta AND Georgia, but a massive leadership vacuum. So why not make hay while the sun shines? By applying leadership in all the right places.

This is called thinking of one’s *bright political future.* All Mayor Reed needs to do is find him a Michelle and a Rahm-like wingman. And then watch him fly outta this red clay political nowhere land.

From Peach Pundit:

Kasim Reed has clout. In a state where no one wants to see the public schools of the capitol city fail, he will be allowed to spend it liberally. The Atlanta Public School Board didn’t just receive a warning from SACS, they received it from the Mayor. Given the power that he has behind him, they best not mistake his threat as more Kabuki theater.

Using Twitter In Breaking News. Case Study.

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Apply this case study of how to use Twitter for breaking news to any crisis communication effort you need to stay on top of. Click photo to enlarge. From NYCTheBlog:

 

As you likely know, there was a deadly shooting in Arizona yesterday afternoon that has left six people dead, according to The New York Times. At approximately 2:00pm, Caitie Parker, a high school class mate of the shooter, noted on Twitter that the incident happened “2 minutes from my house.” When the media discovered her, likely because of a smart interview Anthony DeRosa was conducting with here, at least 35 public requests for comment, phone calls and interviews—from local newspapers to national news networks—came into Catie on Twitter from all over the country, as well as overseas.

Article in full here.

The Value of An Established Social Network In Times of Crisis

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Brother can you spare a boat?

It took four hour for the Atlanta Fire Department (AFD) to get their rescue personnel into a rescue boat during recent flooding in the city – as AFD  floundered smack dab in the middle of one of the wealthiest zip codes in the city, if not the entire country.

Four hours to acquire a boat in a portion of a city where people have likely dozens of boats, of a vast variety, idling in backyard garages. Dozens. Just minutes away from a flooded creek from which people needed immediate rescuing.

According to The Sunday Paper, when AFD went broke during this recession they were forced to sell the only rescue boat they owned before the big flood of September 2009.

So be it. If you need a boat in 30327 and you can’t put out a plea to any number of neighbors and citizens nearby, in a time of crisis, who would gladly and urgently have offered a boat to assist in the rescue of neighbors and fellow citizens in the Internet Age, then that’s a sorry state of communication – a state of communication that illuminates just how critical it is that our social networks include, and overlap with, government entities and the people they serve and seek to assist. And vice versa.

During the flooding the week of September 20, 2009 in Atlanta there was almost no interruption to communication infrastructure such as cellular networks and Internet services.

Had anyone on the fire department rescue team asked any 30327 resident, bystander, onlooker or neighbor to help locate a boat, chances are someone could have stood right by the rising creek, whipped out a phone (smart kind or othewise) and called someone to assist with the immediate loan of an appropriate boat.

A 30327 resident might have sent out an urgent request on a neighborhood message board for a boat. Someone could have used their Twitter (and the #atlflood hashtag) or Facebook network to locate a boat.

If the Atlanta Fire Department had built their own Twitter and/or Facebook social network of citizens of the areas of Atlanta they serve, AFD could have used that network, immediately, to locate and acquire a boat — within the hour of need I’d guess.

But first you must, of course, HAVE a social network to ask things of and to utilize in times  of crisis! It’s not that the fire department did not have a boat to call their own; rather they could not get their hands on ANY boat for four hours… while they were surrounded in a sea of possible boats.

I recently witnessed a local Atlanta social network jump into action to assist an elderly neighbor who was discovered living without water service for over a year. Once people in the neighborhood became aware of the neighbor’s plight, and what was needed to help the situation, an entire community and social network kicked in to serve and assist. Virtually instantly. All because one email was sent to an established social network. In that particular case, a network created via a simple, free Yahoo! Message Board/group.

In times of crisis, people want to serve. People will serve and assist in whatever way, small or large, that they are capable of. Any disaster scenario has proved that over and over again.

But it takes communication to let people know what exactly is needed to kick-start our inherent sense of service. And it takes leadership. And it takes foresight.

Now, especially in a deep recession, it very well may take an established social network. Because a social network is comprised of all kinds of people – people who are willing and able and eager to serve…  in most cases.

In the case of severe flooding, your social network may very well have just the boat you need… if you ask that of your network.

Twitter Hashtags In Crisis Communication/Atlanta Flood 2009

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Grayson Daughters and Tessa Horehled talk using Twitter hashtags in crisis communication and disaster relief during the Atlanta, Georgia flood of September 2009. #atlflood

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Talking Twitter Hashtags In Crisis Co…“, posted with vodpod

Georgia and Atlanta Disaster Relief Orgs To Follow On Twitter

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Please help add to this list of Georgia/Atlanta organizations that are Twittering flood/disaster relief  information out to the community in the Comments section. I’ll update accordingly!

Flooding in Atlanta: One Search To Bind Them All

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Charlotte, NC communications blogger, Andria Krewson, took time out to notice the way we Atlantans used Twitter as a crisis communications tool in the flooding situation yesterday. And how a trending topic on Twitter is quickly spammed by jerks too, making Twitter a dubious crisis communications tool – at the trending phase at least.

Just as the TV news stations will have “EVEN MORE” coverage throughout the day,  online communications gurus will continue to use Twitter throughout this ongoing natural disaster in Georgia.

Here’s Krewson’s (@underaok on Twitter) post in full:

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Flooding in Atlanta: One Search To Bind Them All

About 6 a.m. Monday, Steve Burns, a freelance journalist near Atlanta, sent out a note on Twitter:

“WSB: Boil water advisory in Douglas County. #atlfloods”

An hour later, Atlanta blogger Grayson Hurst Daughters tweeted from her @spaceyg account:

“Atlanta commuters: use the hashtag #atlflood for Atlanta flood condition notices.”

She followed up quickly with a note to a local TV outlet:

“@11AliveNews, please consider using the hashtag #atlflood in your Tweets! That way all the notices can be indexed/RSS’d. Tx!”

The tag set the tone for an organized, findable stream of aggregated content that helped Atlantans and their friends stay informed as the rain kept falling, killing at least 6 people, swamping interstates and causing major delays at the airport. The Georgia governor declared a state of emergency in 17 counties.

We’ve all read posts about how Twitter provides immediate coverage of earthquakes or bloody election fallout. But this moment showed how a social media tool enabled aggregation of all local news coverage through one search, quickly, in a large city, for breaking news.

Individuals shared links to stories from the established local news outlets quickly throughout the day. And a picture on Twitpic of flooding on Atlanta’s downtown connector received more than 60,000 views in about 10 hours.

Considering it a victory for untrained “citizen journalism” might be a bit misleading. Burns has newspaper experience from California, Georgia and Florida, and Daughters is a writer and corporate communication professional who worked for ABC News for six years. Also heavily involved was Tessa Horehled, a strategic marketer who advises companies about social media plans. Tweeting at @driveafastercar, she braved the rain with a video camera numerous times throughout the day from her neighborhood, and posted pictures late into the evening as a creek approached her front door.

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