A couple of unrelated items. For those whose crisis plans include working with the government response agencies in a Unified Command, or NIMS or ICS response, the action of Montana’s governor today in pulling out of Unified Command is very important. I blogged on this at Emergency Management so won’t repeat myself, other than to suggest that this is the latest fallout of the mistakes the federal government made in handling the Deepwater Horizon (gulf oil spill) response. If the federal government and now state governments don’t take the National Incident Management System seriously and implement it when it is convenient, does it have a future? It’s a critically important question that unfortunately most in the media don’t have the background to ask about.
On a completely unrelated subject, I’m watching with fascination the debate over Google+ and the impact it will have on Facebook. For crisis communicators, this is of more than academic interest. This article from the Nieman Journalism Lab provides an excellent summary of some of the analysis, and particularly on what impact Google+ might have on news coverage.
Whether Google or FB emerge as the primary social media channel that is significant for crisis and emergency communication may not be as important as the functions that Google+ is introducing that may have a real impact on how we do crisis communications. For example–the Hangout feature. Is this the way press conferences will be done in the future? Why not? And town meetings? The “Turtle Talk” event in the gulf spill would be a good example of a Hangout.
I do expect to see a dramatic increase in TV interviews using Skype, FB with Skype and now Hangout. Sure would save the media a ton of money, give them access to a lot more subjects to interview, and make the whole process of set up to interview to broadcast almost immediate. That makes it in my mind a virtual sure thing. The question is, are you or your execs ready to do a skype recorded interview?
The “circles” and “sparks” functions of Google+ also lead in interesting directions for crisis communicators. Circles is a natural and important way of introducing stakeholder groups and audience groups who share specific interests. Sparks looks like it could be important for tracking what’s trending, what’s happening now and therefore be added to the monitoring process.
One thing is certain–Google didn’t uncomplicate our lives with this announcement. It only gets more confused and challenging from here.