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Order from Chaos: Understanding the Interplay of Social Media and Crisis           Communication           W. Timothy Coom...
Chaos
Driving questions• What is a social media crisis?  – What does it mean to use social media in a crisis?• What are tactical...
Taxonomy of “Crises”            Crises                OrganizationalDisasters                     Crises
Central Concerns of             Organizational Crises•   Public safety (physical health)•   Public welfare (psychological ...
Taxonomy Part 2           Organizational               CrisesTraditional             Social Media  Crises                 ...
Traditional crisis• Public safety and welfare
Social media crisis• Public perception (Reputation)
a concern that arises in or is amplifiedby social media resulting in negativelegacy media coverage, changes inbusiness ope...
Sources of social media crises               Organizational                  Misuse                                Dissati...
Taxonomy Part 3                          Social Media                              Crisis         Stakeholder             ...
Organizational misuse• Inappropriate use (competence)  – Apologize and correctCrisis Connection• Purposeful misuse (moral)
Dissatisfied Customers• Customer relations, not a crisis  – Resolve the concern (opportunity & transparency)Crisis Connect...
Challenges• Stakeholder claims organization is acting in  irresponsible manner  – Threat to CSR claims  – Threat to reputa...
Social media as risk• Stakeholders take control of organization’s  social media  – Planned  – Spontaneous• Creates negativ...
Social media as risk
From social media crisis to Use of social media in a          crisis
Implications for crisis communication• Tactical (tools)• Strategic (how to reach goals)
Tactics by Crisis phase  Pre-Crisis        Crisis       Post-Crisis• Monitoring    • Requisite     • Updates  for threats ...
Major impact on pre-crisis phase           New visibility            New Tools           New Choices
Increase public visibility         Pre-crisis           Crisis         Response
Increase public visibility          Pre-crisis            Crisis          Response
Publicly• Resolve customer complaint  – Demonstrate skill and commitment• Address organizational faux pas• Response to cha...
Tactical: Pre-crisis• Improve monitoring• Anticipate channels
Monitoring• Scan social media for warning signs/threats
Anticipate channels• Control channels tied to brand, even if inactive  – EX: Twitter feeds• Pre-prepared messages• Be acti...
Tactical: Crisis Response     Requisite response  Consistency with channels
Same Channel: Fed-ex
Integration: KidCo
Tactics: Post-crisis• Social media ideal for updating• Identify online memorials
Visibility = PressureChallenge is the Nexus ofTactics and Strategy
Paracrisis• Publicly visible crisis threat that  charges an organization with  irresponsible or unethical behavior• Associ...
Strategy by Crisis phase  Pre-crisis       Crisis     Post-crisis• Assess       • Select     • Relationship  threats      ...
Assessment: Origins of challenges• Organic: values evolve and organization may  fall behind• Expose: disconnect (deception...
Assessment: Nature of threatPowerLegitimacyUrgency
Response choices: Rhetoric• Accommodation: incorporate challenge into  organizational operations• Adaptation: incorporate ...
Channel selection• Indiscriminant: wide dispersion (small seed)  – Low cost  – Fast and easy  – Overlap and repetition• Se...
Online memorials• Promote grieving and healing (public welfare)• Should organization create one?  – Uni- or multi-vocal• S...
Order?• New channels = change  – Evolution NOT Revolution• Are “social media” crises (paracrises)• Existing theory appropr...
Challenge dynamic: Strategy                               Stakeholder                                ChallengeQuiescence o...
Challenge protocol• Challenger contacts the organization first with  demands—petition
Power• Number of social media channels and ease of  use• Communicative skills of challenger• Past success of challengers
Legitimacy• Challenge is viewed as acceptable• Evidence others supporting challenge• Legitimacy of the challengers
Urgency• Challengers commitment to the concern• Reflects threat is long term• Promote need for action
Constraints•   Financial costs of change•   Consistency with organizational strategy•   Potential benefits from change•   ...
Order from chaos:  Interplay of Social Media and Crisis Communication
Order from chaos:  Interplay of Social Media and Crisis Communication
Order from chaos:  Interplay of Social Media and Crisis Communication
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Order from chaos: Interplay of Social Media and Crisis Communication

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Order from chaos: Interplay of Social Media and Crisis Communication

  1. 1. Order from Chaos: Understanding the Interplay of Social Media and Crisis Communication W. Timothy Coombs University of Central Florida
  2. 2. Chaos
  3. 3. Driving questions• What is a social media crisis? – What does it mean to use social media in a crisis?• What are tactical implications for crisis communication?• What are the strategic implications for crisis communication?
  4. 4. Taxonomy of “Crises” Crises OrganizationalDisasters Crises
  5. 5. Central Concerns of Organizational Crises• Public safety (physical health)• Public welfare (psychological health)• Public perception (reputation)• Operations (business continuity)
  6. 6. Taxonomy Part 2 Organizational CrisesTraditional Social Media Crises Crises
  7. 7. Traditional crisis• Public safety and welfare
  8. 8. Social media crisis• Public perception (Reputation)
  9. 9. a concern that arises in or is amplifiedby social media resulting in negativelegacy media coverage, changes inbusiness operations, or threatensfinancial loss a rhetorical construction
  10. 10. Sources of social media crises Organizational Misuse Dissatisfied Challengers Customers Social Media Crisis
  11. 11. Taxonomy Part 3 Social Media Crisis Stakeholder Organizational Actions Actions Customer Misuse ofChallenges Complaints Social Media
  12. 12. Organizational misuse• Inappropriate use (competence) – Apologize and correctCrisis Connection• Purposeful misuse (moral)
  13. 13. Dissatisfied Customers• Customer relations, not a crisis – Resolve the concern (opportunity & transparency)Crisis Connection• Warning of a product harm
  14. 14. Challenges• Stakeholder claims organization is acting in irresponsible manner – Threat to CSR claims – Threat to reputations
  15. 15. Social media as risk• Stakeholders take control of organization’s social media – Planned – Spontaneous• Creates negative messages
  16. 16. Social media as risk
  17. 17. From social media crisis to Use of social media in a crisis
  18. 18. Implications for crisis communication• Tactical (tools)• Strategic (how to reach goals)
  19. 19. Tactics by Crisis phase Pre-Crisis Crisis Post-Crisis• Monitoring • Requisite • Updates for threats response • Monitor for• Anticipate • Consistency memorials channels with channels • Monitor reactions
  20. 20. Major impact on pre-crisis phase New visibility New Tools New Choices
  21. 21. Increase public visibility Pre-crisis Crisis Response
  22. 22. Increase public visibility Pre-crisis Crisis Response
  23. 23. Publicly• Resolve customer complaint – Demonstrate skill and commitment• Address organizational faux pas• Response to challenge
  24. 24. Tactical: Pre-crisis• Improve monitoring• Anticipate channels
  25. 25. Monitoring• Scan social media for warning signs/threats
  26. 26. Anticipate channels• Control channels tied to brand, even if inactive – EX: Twitter feeds• Pre-prepared messages• Be active if relevant
  27. 27. Tactical: Crisis Response Requisite response Consistency with channels
  28. 28. Same Channel: Fed-ex
  29. 29. Integration: KidCo
  30. 30. Tactics: Post-crisis• Social media ideal for updating• Identify online memorials
  31. 31. Visibility = PressureChallenge is the Nexus ofTactics and Strategy
  32. 32. Paracrisis• Publicly visible crisis threat that charges an organization with irresponsible or unethical behavior• Associated with challenge crises
  33. 33. Strategy by Crisis phase Pre-crisis Crisis Post-crisis• Assess • Select • Relationship threats Channel to• Select memorials response
  34. 34. Assessment: Origins of challenges• Organic: values evolve and organization may fall behind• Expose: disconnect (deception) between organizational words and deeds for responsibility• Villain: repeated efforts to attack a particular organization or industry
  35. 35. Assessment: Nature of threatPowerLegitimacyUrgency
  36. 36. Response choices: Rhetoric• Accommodation: incorporate challenge into organizational operations• Adaptation: incorporate some variation of the challenge into the organization• Rejection: maintain status quo with rationale• Redemption: apologize for the deception and validate new actions (expose only)
  37. 37. Channel selection• Indiscriminant: wide dispersion (small seed) – Low cost – Fast and easy – Overlap and repetition• Selective – Need for cognition by stakeholders • Public safety driven (why useful in disasters) – Channels used by stakeholders – Focus monitoring on reactions in select social media
  38. 38. Online memorials• Promote grieving and healing (public welfare)• Should organization create one? – Uni- or multi-vocal• Should organization link to one? – Contact creators first• Informed by memory studies
  39. 39. Order?• New channels = change – Evolution NOT Revolution• Are “social media” crises (paracrises)• Existing theory appropriate platform – Map tactical use of social media – Understand strategic implications – Add “new” theories and concepts as needed• Effective strategy never goes out of style
  40. 40. Challenge dynamic: Strategy Stakeholder ChallengeQuiescence or Stakeholder AssessmentSupport Reaction Organizational Response Constraints
  41. 41. Challenge protocol• Challenger contacts the organization first with demands—petition
  42. 42. Power• Number of social media channels and ease of use• Communicative skills of challenger• Past success of challengers
  43. 43. Legitimacy• Challenge is viewed as acceptable• Evidence others supporting challenge• Legitimacy of the challengers
  44. 44. Urgency• Challengers commitment to the concern• Reflects threat is long term• Promote need for action
  45. 45. Constraints• Financial costs of change• Consistency with organizational strategy• Potential benefits from change• Potential damage from status quo

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