The use of twitter by Brian Humphries of the LA Fire Department in reporting on the recent wildfires has the social media and crisis communication world, well, a twitter. For good reason, it is one of the most stunning examples of adoption of social media and instant news world methods to report on what is going on. Speed, directness and transparency–a great example. Here’s the twitter website with his postings which shows he is using it not just for major events like the fires, but everything that is going on.
Humphries and the LA Fire Department were one of three organizations cited at the recent Risk and Crisis Communications conference in DC. Michael Dumlao from Booz Allen Hamilton pointed to them as well as the US Coast Guard and Red Cross as government “champions” of social media. I was pleased to see that two of our clients made the list. Well, we’ll have to work on LA Fire Department.
On the other hand, some airlines are having a bit of time in the social media world. This article from the Economist talks about the problems British Airways and Virgin Atlantic have had with employees saying bad things about their employers, or worse, their employer’s customers. Ah, speed, directness and transparency–a two edged sword.
It is clear that government agencies and leading companies and organizations have to come to grips with the rapid emergence of social media. As Dumlao asked during the conference: What is your wikipedia policy?