Crisis Management In The Year 2007 And Beyond0.


My heart 18virgi2600_2 goes out to Virginia Tech's extended family .. students, parents, facility, staff and beyond.

There will be many who analyze the situation and review the hows and whys and what shouldas. In her post,  Virginia Tech: Social Media in Crisis Planning, Marianne Richmond takes a different view. Based on how students in the year 2007 communicate ..

Students at Virginia Tech used mobile phones, digital cameras, social networks such as Flickr,  Facebook and MySpace, blogs and video to communicate with each other and to document the tragedy in real time.

Marianne offers a simple but brilliant solution that every school should include in their crisis management strategy: Twitter. Create Twitter groups to relay important information during disasters.

Sidebar: Twitter is a mobile text messaging systems that allows groups to be formed without regard to provider. The history of the content is retained on a web page which can be public or private. 

If I were a betting kinda diva, I'd say that the majority of college students have cell phones. Those who don't have cells phones would learn about the situation through friends, as well as from the buzz happening on campus. Faster, more effiecient than email or blog posts.

Last week I spoke at the Center for Disease Control and Preventaion about promoting public health through blogging. After the panel discussion some of the CDC's EMarekting team and I explored how Twitter could be used as a crisis communication tool.  They immediately saw application in using this type of simple technology in remote areas during a disaster or disease out break. Overlay Google Maps and you have a visual Free alert system.

Crisis management in the year 2007 and beyond must incorporate processes and systems that reach people in ways in which they communcate. And then make it easy for those who have the information to extend it to those who do not. What would have been the result if Virginia Tech had a Twitter Group in place this week?

I encourage, no I challenge marketers involved in healthcare, education and the non profit sectors to step out of your comfort zone and present these types of new solutions to your clients. Not only will you appear innovative but you may just help to save lives.

Pink_boa Toss of a pink boa to Marianne!


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Thanks to you for all your great posts about how to be proactive with social media and now advocating for stepping out of the comfort zone.


Posted by: Marianne Richmond on Apr 18, 2007 1:07:19 PM

Marianne - Your Twitter idea goes beyond simple marketing strategy to something that can impact lives. I think this is one of the most important conversations marketers should be having in regard to the uses of social media. Sure we want to sell more widgets and tennis balls but putting technology into play to deliver critical information is a step beyond.

Posted by: Toby on Apr 18, 2007 1:17:50 PM


I think every communications tool thst can reach the target audience should be used. However, since every student seems dedicated to IM, isn't that the first tool of choice?

Posted by: Lewis Green on Apr 19, 2007 11:45:32 AM

With today's technology, events such as the VT tragedy can't be completely prevented but they can definitely be minimized. Schools are starting to realize now that there are plenty of ways to contact students in case of emergencies. The University of Delaware has sent out letters asking for cell phone numbers so that they cant text message us in similar situations. Unfortunately, all this comes to mind only after such a great travesty occurs and many innocent lives are lost.

Posted by: Kyle Garis on Apr 23, 2007 8:50:26 PM

Many thanks for letting people know that schools are beginning to take notice of how students communicate And to use them. Yes, it's beyond words that this wasn't thought of before but at least we're thinking of it now. Perhaps that will be one of the legacies from the people who were caught in the VA Tech tragedy.

By the way have you seen this - April 30th one day of blog silence? Pass it along to Alex and your class. I'd be interested in your thoughts about it.

Posted by: Toby on Apr 24, 2007 12:07:59 AM

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