Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Social Media and Crisis Communication

Throughout the semester, I have focused my blog on the appeal of social media and the contributions it has provided for the public relations industry. However, social media, like all other forms of legitimate PR, is also forced to address one of the negative aspects of public relations: crisis management and communication. Because of our sophisticated age of technology, information is able to travel at lightning speed. A negative comment or post about a company can be posted on the internet, and potentially viewed by millions within a matter of seconds. Therefore, it is necessary for a PR practitioner using social media to know how to accurately respond to all types of situations.
According to this article, “Surviving a Social Networking Crisis, although the internet provides a new outlet for public relations practitioners to address crises, the steps taken in addressing these issues should remain a constant. The author notes that the public relations representative or agency must address the problem, be honest, gauge a response from the audience, respond quickly, and assign a point person. These steps have been critical components of public relations crisis management in the past, and will be essential to social media crisis management as well.
The internet provides innovative opportunities to reach your audience, such as online video streaming, and new forms of audience feedback, such as comments or blogging. In spite of these modern elements that have aided the practice of public relations, PR pros must still engage in all of the necessary steps of crisis management and communication that have been respected in past public relations activity.

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