Crisis management and social media

Call me old fashioned (okay, don’t), but I was VERY reluctant to get involved with social media at first. I might have been one of many to suggest that Facebook can ruin lives. Albeit it your token, nosey nuisance of an aunt, persistently annoying status updates, or the 87th picture post by your most social friend, Facebook and social media like it have tremendous potential to be more bad than good.

But, there’s certainly no denying the power social media can play in the handling of public relations issues and challenges. In a recent article entitled “Why Crisis Management and Social Media Must Co-Exist“, Rob Birgfeld identifies suggestions on how to utilize social media during a corporate crisis.

Without rewriting his entire article, I’ll mention just one point he made that stuck out to me. While companies all too often monitor the return of investment, Birgfeld suggests they too measure the “return on avoiding pain.” If a company is keeping an eye on the blogosphere, the likelihood for dissemination of misinformation can be drastically reduced, or if nothing else, addressed immediately.

I also wonder if social media is an appropriate crisis management tool in any and all circumstances. Do you think the severity of an issue determines whether social media is an appropriate tool to address and remedy the problem?

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