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March 7, 2013
Digital Crisis Communication a Two-Way Challenge
 
TechNewsWorld offers another take on social media in crisis communication, based largely on experience from major flooding in parts of Queensland, Australia in 2011. Emergency management organizations don't really control the flow of crisis information any longer — they're monitoring information on Twitter and other social media like everyone else, writes Patrick Nelson.

"This reliance on social media is new," he continues. "...It wasn't easy for local governments, which traditionally have controlled the dissemination of disaster information, to allow communications to become two-way, as happens with social networking." 

"Those working in government are concerned about relinquishing control of the distribution of information," notes Anthony S. Mangeri, a professor at the American Public University System. "Protection of one's brand reputation is an essential element of any good crisis management strategy," he adds. 

The report notes that, in Queensland, "Leading Twitter accounts, including those from police media bureaus, received about 25 retweets for each message. Those messages primarily focused on situational information and advice that was crucial for public safety purposes."

It's become more challenging planning for crisis communication in this new digital setting than standing behind a podium (with communication staff support) used to be, and that was challenging enough. 

Here, by the way, from boston.com is a PRBuzz.com news release on topPRagencies.com maintaining a monthly list of the "Top 10 Crisis Communications Agencies." That's a list-making responsibility we wouldn't want to have, monthly indeed! 

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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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