Crisis Communications and Social Media: Advantages, Disadvantages and Best Practices   [open pdf - 0B]

"With new environmental developments and terrorism breeding opportunities for crises, and media proliferation and advancement increasing exposure to crises, organizations have placed a higher premium on crisis management (Coombs, 1999). Through a thorough literature review, the purpose of this paper is to demonstrate how crisis communications is important today now more than ever with media (traditional and new) increasing the exposure of the crises, and new media -- particularly social media -- adding to and creating this exposure. The paper takes a broad view of crisis communications by examining the varying definitions of crisis and crisis communications, as well as highlighting a few related crisis communication functions, strategies, models and theories. Within this overview will be a concentration on the positive and negative impact of social media on the practice of crisis communications. This paper will explore how social media can help the practice by supplying stakeholders with a ready resource to make sense of a crisis, and by creating a way to share integral, time-sensitive information quickly to citizens and crisis managers and communicators. By the same token, social media can hinder organizations' crisis communications by spreading misinformation at rapid speed. Also, not everyone using social media has the best intentions -- they may use it to harm an organization thereby potentially creating a crisis for both the organization and those stakeholders who bear the risk."

University of Tennessee, Knoxville
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University of Tennessee, Knoxville: http://www.utk.edu/
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