It's time for Twitter crisis-response techniques to be codified and Dallas Lawrence, of Burson-Marsteller, makes a helpful contribution to the tool locker. Whether Pulitzer juries consider Twitter a news platform or not, it is, and needs to be understood for, as much crisis utility as possible.
But for Twitter's terse digital format, not much is new about crisis imperatives there, Lawrence notes. "From Gutenburg to Zuckerberg," he writes, "the principles of sincerity, transparency, accuracy and speed still largely determine success or failure in the court of public opinion."
Lawrence offers six guidelines for crisis communication on Twitter, starting with the likely advantage — if the organization is big enough with enough at stake — of having a separate Twitter account at the ready for crisis-response statements.
Why all the concern about Twitter crisis readiness? "A recent survey of approximately 500 journalists around the world," Lawrence writes, "found that approximately half of those polled use Twitter to source for stories. In times of crisis, reporters are turning to Twitter in greater numbers to see who is talking about the issue and to identify which sources would best complement their coverage." Make that reporters and editors, we'd suggest.
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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