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May 22, 2012
Crisis Communication: Social Media at the Heart of WHO
 
David J. Olson, a veteran crisis health communicator, found Twitter at the heart of WHO, the World Health Organization, when he visited the organization's Geneva headquarters recently. Here he provides examples of tweets that were posted during the Japanese tsunami and radiation crisis last year.  

One — Iodized #salt doesn't have enough #iodine to protect you from radiation. Too much #iodizedsalt can cause poisoning. #japan #global health — helped head off a salt-buying panic in China. 

We've, of course, known that social media is being used in crises, often in a freelance fashion. But to see it institutionalized like this at WHO is a real communications marker for our times.

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Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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