The requirement of blogging and tweeting for class this has been anxiety inducing – for many reasons. The reason that is most pertinent for this post is the amount of visibility that these activities give to the author. I had a Twitter account for much of high school and the beginning of college, but this is my first foray into blogging. This anxiety is strange, because I have always had some sort of online/social media presence for much of my existence. Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Xanga (anyone remember this??), AIM, all platforms that I had/have active accounts.
Through this blog, I realized that my anxiety stems from of my fear of the judgement that will come from my thoughts and work being read by a wide(r) and unknown audience. There is a reason that I am not in school for journalism, to put it simply.
My birth year is 1993, I have been brought up in the Internet age. I had workshops in computer labs in elementary school, had a smart phone in middle school, and applied to college online at the end of high school. Every application that I have ever completed, every interview that I have entered I have expected that whoever will be evaluating me will have already Googled me (as I have them). It is a strange world to live in, but it is the only one that I know. It is the only one that many people my age and younger have grown up surrounded in, so the discussion of risk and crisis management is not too new to me. I live in constant fear that my online presence will somehow/someday come back to bite me in the future.
Last week we had an online discussion about risk and crisis management for social media managers. Required readings touched on both sides of the crisis – how an institution sees a crisis, and what happens when an individuals online presence creates a crisis for them professionally. My contribution to the conversation was a summary of best practices as a social media manager to prepare for and react to a social media crisis. Some of my take aways from marketing consulting firm Convince and Convert’s 8-step guide to managing a social media crisis:
How to plan for a crisis:
– Create a literal flowchart that describes who does what in a social media crisis, enact a phone tree, have systems set up for action and communication
– Role play/have “fire drills” to understand how it might play out
These are two great ideas, that might seem like extra time and effort, but will certainly pay off when something unexpected occurs. I am interested to know if where I currently have an internship has these systems in place in their marketing/comm department. The article also mentions that EVERYONE in the institution should be prepped, because contact is so easy now. Important to remember that just the social media manager shouldn’t be ready to take on a crisis.
How to respond to a crisis:
– Use the same social media channels (if it erupted on Facebook, respond on Facebook)
– Apologize and mean it
– Create a “pressure relief valve” – make it possible for people to continue to vent/discuss the matter, but in a place that you can control and monitor (I would say beware of deleting anything though – screen shots are forever and you could get into deeper trouble for censorship)
– DOCUMENT everything: save tweets, comments, emails, analyze how/when/where the crisis broke, how did the management work, thank defenders, etc.
The Cincinnati Zoo is an example of an institution still dealing with and reacting to a social media crisis that seems to never end – in the form of jokes, tweets, memes, etc. all surrounding the controversial death of the gorilla.
To be honest, I probably would have never started a blog or a professional Twitter without this class. The premise is great, to create an online professional presence that we will (hopefully) continue to utilize into the future. I have been able to talk about this exercise in multiple job interviews I have recently had and the reception is always positive. Before I post or tweet anything I think long and hard about whether or not it should be put out there – something that I think more people need to do. While I don’t anticipate creating my own social media crisis for an institution to have to deal with, I am actively and cautiously cultivating this presence because the Internet remembers everything.
On an unrelated note – PLEASE VOTE TOMORROW !!