Crisis Management in the Age of Facebook


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PR crisis managers are being forced to modify their crisis plans in the era of Facebook and Twitter.  What was once a 24 hour news cycle is now the “30 seconds” news cycle.    So how does one adjust?

  • Engage.  More than ever it’s important to build alliances and allies before a crisis happens.  Make sure that includes having a Facebook Page and build a list of followers on Twitter over time.  Being present on the various social media platforms can help save your reputation in a time of crisis.
  • Resources.  You must dedicate someone’s time at least a couple of hours a week for social media.  Examine the ratio of time you spend on building traditional  media relationships to that of social media relationships. They should be equal or weigh slightly  in favor of social media.
  • Listening.  Whether it is basic free tools like Google Alerts, or more sophisticated paid systems, like Radian 6, you must be listening for what is being said about you, your company, group, or clients.  If you don’t know what you’re missing, you’re going to be in trouble.
  • Black pages. Create a black page on your website designed to “go live” if ever needed in response to various issues.  Prepare now so can you can respond quickly when needed, without having to bring in  the web programmer and start from scratch.
  • Prioritize.  Don’t be fooled by how many people you know who use Twitter.  Twitter users are some of the most educated, active, sophisticated and worse for you in a crisis.  They are most likely to spread what they see on Twitter by word of mouth.  Make sure you or your organization are on Twitter and know how to use it.  Facebook is another default message platform so  be sure that people are following your company or businesses, at a minimum,  on both Facebook and Twitter.

 Remember what Mark Twain said:  “When you need a friend, it’s too late to make a friend.”   Be prepared in advance and build your allies and your followers,  so you can respond accurately and quickly when a situation erupts.

Dropbox is favorite program of 2010

Welcome to 2011!  And here’s my all-time favorite new (and free) program for you from the year 2010. 

It’s my New Year’s present to you.  Once you get it you won’t be able to live without it.   

Have a group of documents you’re always working on and adding to? Place them all in a Dropbox documents folder on your desktop and you can modify them at home, work, and on the road on any computers where you have also installed Dropbox (with your username and password of course).  All new additions to a document stayed synced automatically.  Even across different platforms (between Mac and PC, for example).  Meanwhile, for 2011, here are 5 new ways to use Dropbox that you probably haven’t even thought of.  Go to:

Austin ranks first re recovery.

Austin was one of the top-rated metro areas worldwide, and the highest in the U.S., in a Brookings Institution analysis of how 150 cities around the globe are recovering from the recession.

Austin ranked 26th overall in the report, which measured cities on their pre-recession, recession and post-recession economies.

The report, released this morning, said metro areas are leading the way in “a precarious recovery” from the worst downturn since the Great Depression.

The 150 cities ranked are “locations for high-value economic activity” that “punch above their weight in national and global economic output.”

It’s better to give to charity than to receive

Give the gift of helping Habitat for Humanity

When you’re struggling with that one person on your list — the one who has everything he or she could want — there is one typically overlooked option that’s much more thoughtful than a gift: philanthropy.

Giving someone the chance to participate in a charitable donation is a gift you can both feel good about, a gift that will never go to waste. And with the Internet at your fingertips, it’s easier than ever to make a donation on someone else’s behalf and let them know about that gift. 

Or let them chose the donation of choice.  Like Habitat for Humanity for example, among others

Here are a few gift options that embody the axiom, “It is better to give than to receive.”

See details at:

An amazing little reminder tool

Every so often I run across something that’s so simple and yet so amazing.  Here’s an exmple:

How often do you forget to follow-up with someone based on an e-mail sent to you a week ago?

 Do you get e-mails that you want to re-read a few months from now? A new service is looking to turn your inbox into a dead-simple reminder and follow-up system.

NudgeMail, which launched this week, isn’t a browser extension, a program you install on your desktop, or even a web app; it operates entirely via e-mail. All you have to do to use NudgeMail is write or forward an e-mail NudgeMail, and it’ll send you that e-mail back at the time you’ve specific. No sign-up is required.

Say your boss e-mails you to follow-up with a client next week. All you have to do is forward that e-mail to “” and NudgeMail will send it back to you seven days later. If you get an e-mail from a friend you don’t want to deal with until tomorrow, you can e-mail it to “” and it’ll arrive the next day.

NudgeMail comes with a variety of commands, ranging from “” to “” (you’ll get the e-mail at 6 PM that evening) to “” (you’ll get the e-mail on February 12, 2011). You can specify times (“”) or intervals of time (“”). There’s even a snooze option (“”) that will send the e-mail back to you in exactly one hour.


Top CEO’s slow to adopt social media

Not unlike the original adoption of PC’s or of email, in which the largest CEO’s were among the last to master the new technology, a new study shows that while numerous CEOs do use social media in a wide variety of ways in ther businesses, those atop the world’s biggest corporations remain largely on the sidelines.

“Socializing Your CEO: From (Un)Social to Social,” prepared by global PR firm Weber Shandwick, found that 64% of CEOs at the world’s 50 largest companies aren’t engaging with social media.

But even for the 36% that do “go social,” most of that activity falls into the realm of fairly traditional web activities, like posting a letter to a corporate website, which 28% of the sample had done.

Why such low social media activity? Chris Perry, president of Weber Shandwick Digital Communications said, “It’s not surprising that CEOs are less inclined to participate in social media given the perceived risk and time commitment required to engage in two-way conversations.”

That risk of course involves having 140 characters of informSocial Media Businesswomanation analyzed and scrutinized by the media and moreso investors –- a complexity that hasn’t been lost on politicians and celebrities but is amplified even further when small nuggets of information can move a company’s valuation by billions of dollars.

Leslie Gaines-Ross, Weber Shandwick’s chief reputation strategist and online reputation expert, does see value in CEOs embracing social media, however. “In this increasingly digital age, CEOs should embrace the value of connectivity with customers, talent and other important stakeholders online. With 1.96 billion Internet(Internet) users around the world, CEOs should be where people are watching, reading, chatting and listening,” she said


Failing to Forget the “Drunken Pirate”

Stacy Snyder wanted to become a teacher.  The single mother had completed her coursework and was looking forward to her new career.  Then her dream died.  University officials told her that although she had earned all the credits, passed all exams, and completed her training that she would be denied a teaching certificate because of behaviour unbecoming of a teacher.  What behaviour she asked?  An on-line photo on MySpace showed her in costume wearing a pirate’s hat and drinking from a plastic cup, which she had captioned “drunken pirate.” 

The university argued that the photo was unprofessional since it might expose students to a photo of a teacher drinking.  Even if she took the photo off MySpace, the damage was done as her page had been cataloged by search engines and her photo archived by web crawlers.  (Just image search Stacy Snyder) . 

She unsuccessfully sued the University.   But the bottom line is that the Internet remembered what Stacy wanted to have forgoten.

This particular story has been told thousands of times and is also the intro to the facinating book  “Delete.  The Virtue of Forgetting in the Digital Age”  by Viktor Mayer-Schonberger (available from Amazon and from most booksellers).  It’s an interesting treaatise on the challeges of an Internet that never forgets, as well as a proposal to add a “forgetting” element to the Internet.    

As the author says:  Since the beginning of time, for us humans,  forgetting was the norm and remembering was the exception. Today, with the technology of the Internet, remembering is the norm and forgetting is the exception. 

Note:  As of this 2010 Facebook has over 500 million users with personal pages,  and MySpace  185 million users with personal pages.


Capitalizing on controversy.

I didn’t sit through MTV’s Video Music Awards last night, but I still know one of the themes of the night was Taylor Swift “forgiving” Kanye West for interrupting her acceptance speech last year when she won for Best Female Video.That’s because MTV played it as a headline hook for its awards show — and it worked.The hyped-up Swift-West interaction during last night’s show — shrouded in faux secrecy before the show — was a bit silly except, I suppose, to fans still upset because West grabbed the microphone from her a year ago.But there’s a serious point here for anyone interested in generating headlines — controversy can help sell your story at times.One of the most common mistakes companies make with their news releases is trying to avoid saying anything that could generate any controversy or criticism.  Much of the time all they really succeed in doing is assuring that what they have to say will be boring.  And, therefore, ignored.

If you want your message to get attention it has to have some kind of edge to it.  There has to be a reason the rest of us will notice it and find it interesting.

That doesn’t mean you have to be over the top the way West was when he grabbed the microphone.  It does mean you have to have something worth saying — and be willing to actually say it.

— Jerry Brown

People love stories.

 Reporters tell stories for a living, so you should be a storyteller too.  But make it about me.  Our favorite stories are about us – because if we’re actually in the story we can identify with the people or events in the story.  So once you’ve decided what story you want to tell through the media, tell it as if it is about me, the reader, and NOT about you, the storyteller.  Find a way to make it relevant to the audience.  Especially find a way to make it relevant to the audience that the reporter writes for and you’ve made it easier for the reporter to turn it into news. And the easier it is for reporters and editors to see how your story will interest their audience, the more likely they are to use it.

And for heaven’s sake don’t use a press release.   More about that in the next blog…