Social Media as a Crisis Communications Tool
Real-time Messaging to Employees, Shareholders, and the Public
Nobody likes to think about a crisis at their place of employment, but there have been plenty of scares - food safety, terrorism, gun violence, to name a few - that could have used a good social media tool to communicate the situation during and after the crisis.
Actually, in many recent cases, social media tools have been used for this purpose. Consider the "Hurricane Information Center" built on the (free) Ning platform for SE US residents; and all the Twitter reports that poured in during the '08 Mumbai terrorist attacks, to name two examples.
If you're in the government sector, look no further than the monitoring - by Government, not just grassroots folks! - of the Gaza Strip conflict in the Middle East in the winter of 2008/09 to see the value of social media as a tool to manage crisis commuications. (Both sides of the conflict, Hamas and Israel, had their own Twitter streams hourly updating the number of bombs dropping on each other's residents! OK, so maybe social media isn't perfect; it can't stamp out propaganda entirely!
Your team of public relations, media relations and industrial relations professionals have new, powerful means of conducting "damage control" and managing the company's reputation, calming down consumers, soothing shareholders, reassuring residents that the brush fire isn't going to wipe out their houses today, etc.
Who knows... maybe social media could actually do some real good for the world, beyond enhancing business relations and the bottom line, that is. Saving lives, along with reputations, is a noble objective indeed!