Social Media in Times of Tragedy

In response to the Boston Marathon bombings on Monday many of us found ourselves reaching out through social media to connect, learn, vent or seek comfort related to the tragedy that broke up an exciting event on a beautiful Spring afternoon. People tweeting and posting on Facebook and their friends, family and other citizens who were competing from all around the world for the sake of health and good sportsmanship were rattled as blasts rang through the streets by the finish line. From those who were in the crowds cheering the participants on to the farthest reaching points of the planet, social media flooded with people’s reactions to the incident.
There were questions, but no answers.

At this point we understand that the news media has actions in place to handle these sorts of national incidents, but what about social media sites and outlets? How should they be handled in cases such as these? How should social media managers control the content that is so rapidly and virally distributed?

PR Daily posted an article questioning just that idea and came up with multiple guidelines to help companies, businesses and other outlets streamline the chaos that overwhelmed all of us. Here are their 7 suggestions:

  1. Have a company plan in place to handle the news and how you will disseminate your response, unless you choose to go silent
  2. Put a monitoring system in place to keep track of the content that comes through your company
  3. Inform employees and your community of what is taking place objectively
  4. Halt marketing/promotions so that you don’t appear unaffected
  5. Respond to criticism in case you were behind with the news and offend any readers
  6. Be a resource in case your community has questions and uses you for information
  7. Show compassion because we are all human

At Pollock we were all dismayed by the news and our hearts were heavy with the rest of the world. We can always come up with precautionary steps to prevent social media from getting out of control, but we can’t control the precautionary steps to prevent these major crises that affect us all.

Source: http://www.prdaily.com/Main/Articles/14288.aspx

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