It’s been a heckuva week in American news and very, very tragic. Everyone who is engaged with social media no doubt feels sadness and sympathy for the people affected by the Texas explosions and the Boston bombing. But the big question is this: While individuals rarely hesitate to express concern or grief on Facebook for current events, how should an association or business handle it? Business as usual? Immediate acknowledgment? Suspend normal efforts and focus on the current events? As usual, it’s different for every business or association, but these posts could help.
We normally post links to association blogs and related content, but this topic has been covered by a lot of reputable news sources as well! All of this could help your team develop a social media policy for national and international crises. It could also apply to crisis management for your individual industry too.
Boston Marathon Bombings Brings to Light Social Media Etiquette Issuesby Joanna Stern, for ABC
“While most Twitter and Facebook feeds were dominated by the news, some continued to post their usual status updates, raising questions about social media etiquette and what is and what isn't appropriate to digitally talk about during a national tragedy.”
Boston Bombings: Truth, Justice, and the Wild West of Social Media by Lance Ulanoff for Mashable
“Social media is a fantastic platform for instant news and information-sharing, but that news is often as not almost instantly buried in a cascade of distortions and sometimes outright lies.”
How Social Media After the Boston Bombing Can Be a Recipe for PTSD by Rebecca Greenfield for the Atlantic Wire
“Monday's horrific events at the Boston Marathon produced horrific images which in the age of social media news means an inescapable constant, unsolicited bombardment of the gruesome aftermath of a gruesome event. While Twitter offered the fastest, most up-to-date, and accurate information, it also served as an unfiltered chronicle of the most distressing imagery, which can have lasting mental and physical effects.”
Crisis Mode: How to React Over Social Media by Samantha Hosenkamp for Entrepreneur.com
“Be human. Disable any social media messages that are unrelated to the situation at hand. Turn off automated tweets, and disable email marketing and promos if you can.”
All-Star Social Media Crisis Response for Brands by Jason Boies for Salesforce Marketing Cloud
“Monitoring social media will help you see the crisis from the public’s perspective, shaping your language and adjusting your response tactics.”
The result of these articles is really a “don’t” list:
1) DO NOT start any witch-hunts. Leave the suspect apprehension to the pros and if you want to help, spread ONLY information that a credible police or government source asked you to share.
2) DO NOT share any conjecture or speculation that has not been attributed and confirmed. You never know whom you will hurt.
3) BE CAREFUL with pictures. You never know if you have some evidence, and the police may need it more than your Facebook friends do.
4) BE SENSITIVE to what’s going on. Now wouldn’t be a great time to bash the Red Sox, for example, even if you are a Yankees fan. Post nothing first. What you do share, share with a human touch and nothing automated.
5) BE PREPARED with a crisis plan in place. Talk to your colleagues and members and get their opinion on how to handle breaking news and current events.