Wow! How quick was that! The tragic helicopter accident in London last week highlighted once again just how quickly Social Media can broadcast news of incidents around the globe.

As luck would have it I was talking to a guy in Australia when the incident occurred and he was seeing the Twitter feeds coming through within a few minutes. Initially, even the BCC News site was simply publishing the social media content when the incident occurred because they were still waiting to get their reporters on the scene.

People and the devices in their hands are now much more efficient than ever before. Witnesses all seem to be pseudo journalists clamouring to be first with the news or to provide the most dramatic footage.

It’s quick, it’s simple, it’s great, it’s a curse!

Conventional business continuity and crisis management planning often refers to convening the crisis management team, assessing the situation and agreeing the next steps. Meanwhile the social media newsfeeds are racing away over the horizon and have left you behind.

The challenge is that many decision makers within organisations grew up in a world in which social media didn’t exist. It does now! If you look at the typical profile of a Facebook, Twitter, Kik or Flickr user they are usually younger and more techno savvy than us old cronies. ‘Dad, it’s Twitter – you wouldn’t understand it!’

So there are generations now starting to mature who are completely at ease with sharing information and who have a hunger for instant gratification when it comes to information or news. Plus they have the weapons to do it! Our organisations need to get a grip. Get up to speed.

This is no longer a topic that can be ignored. Where is your organisation placed on this subject? Do you have any kind of policy? Do you have resources, skillsets, protocols and strategies to be able to exploit and or respond as required?

One of my clients talked to me a couple of years ago about launching a Twitter account. My first questions to them were ‘what do you want to do with it? What are your objectives?’ They undertook a piece of work to learn and investigate how best to exploit it and to learn about managing the risks. They went about it in a constructive way rather than just rushing in headlong simply to follow the trend, the contagion if you will.

The benefits can be tremendous and we shouldn’t overlook them, rather seek to exploit them. Equally there can be hazards for which organisations need to prepare. Many companies have fallen foul of the latter including some big names such as BP and Apple. There are some skills to be learned.

Social Media is a fascinating topic and definitely one that needs to be factored into your Business Continuity planning now.

You won’t find me on Facebook but I am on Twitter and LinkedIn if you want to track me down so that I can help you. For those of your preferring conventional means I’m also reachable via email and phone.

January 20, 2013 at 2:27 pm
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Category: Crisis Management
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