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« Public Relations Faux Pas: Yet another TSA lesson in crisis communications | Main | Public Relations and the "Yuck" Factor: A Case Study »



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Philippe Borremans

Hi Lucien,

Just read your article on social media and crisis management via PR Newswire and found it very interesting. You're making the very important point that social media are based on fast, two way communications and even more so during a crisis.

I have been working in this area for some time now and thought you might be interested in an article I have written for the magazine of the IABC on using social media for crisis communications.

Here's the link of the first part of the long article (check my blog for the 4 following blogposts):

Would love to have your views on this from a management perspective.


Lucien Canton

Philippe -

Many thanks for your kind comments. You can find a longer version of the article in the White Papers section entitled Social Media for Emergency Managers.

There are two messages that I try to give to managers. The first is the same one you mention in your blog - stop blocking social media access for your employees. The second is to have a social media strategy. The two are linked - neither works well without the other.

rob dudgeon

Agreed - in principle.

Reality is that often there are factors that affect what can be and cannot be said. In the end, this wasn't a crises - it was an advisory aimed at (hopefully) helping people avoid being in the middle of mess on BART.

Seems like it worked. You were made aware and the advisory prompted you to find out more and make your own decision.

AlertSF and our Twitter stream aren't meant to replace the media or any of the other ways to find out more - just give you a heads up.

Our strategy actually does contemplate this scenario. Not everything is a crises, and we are bound by some policy, technical, and common sense limitations on what we can broadcast. As a result we utilize two types of messages: advisory and emergency.

That said, institutionally we're working on some guidance to smooth the differences and make a more consistent message (all in 140 characters). We'll keep working with the leaders in communications academia (have been for the past 3 years) and listening to feedback from end users to inform our strategy and practice around the use social media.

It's still a brave new world and I'm pretty happy with my team that's brought San Francisco to the forefront of innovation in emergency management over the past 5 or so years. Exploring the potential and limits of web 2.0 in government is both a challenge and an adventure - and we're enjoying both as we chart a new course in public engagement.

Lucien Canton

Rob -

Thanks for your post. You raise several excellent points. This is very definitely a work in progress as we sort the wheat from the chaff in social media - just because we can do something doesn't necessarily mean we should. There's always a gap between what we want to do and what we can do because of constraints such as policy or budget.

Keep up the good work - you've made some impressive advances in the past five years. Also, do keep writing your blog ( I always find it worth reading.

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