There is so much to dislike about social media — yet, there are so many new avenues of communication available to you during a crisis that it becomes hard to do so. On the other hand, social media can also blow up with excessive criticism and hate. Add to that the fact that your older executives may freak out when they read all of the negative criticism. You then have a real PR problem on your hands. However, it is impossible to overlook the power of circumventing the media in certain crises when you can’t get news coverage by taking your message straight to your social media audience. Also, it is gratifying to get positive feedback from people who are hungry for news updates and find solace in knowing you provided them vital information.

…whew!

Are you as tired of this merry-go-round as I am? Sorting it all out is nothing short of exhausting.

So, what do you think? Does “shiny and new” beat “tried and true?” In other words, does new social media serve you better than the traditional approach to crisis communications?

What happens if you combine all of the new social media, the latest technology, great media relations and great crisis communications? I have done it while in seven feet of floodwaters with no electricity for five days. I ended up on live television on CNN and The Weather Channel, broadcasting my story from the heart of a hurricane, where even their own news crews couldn’t go. Would you like to learn the secrets of doing that? Some of them can be found here.

To help you sort it all out, you are invited to join me Sept. 24 in Arlington, Va., where we will explore the good, bad and ugly of social media for crisis communications. Do not come if you are expecting suggestions for one magic solution that works for every organization — there is no such thing. For a sample of what you will hear, visit here.

Continue reading " Social Media: When “It” Hits the Fan "