Thanks to Neil Chapman, a crisisblogger reader and comms manager for a global company out of London, the use of twitter as a reporting tool during Hurricane Ike came to my attention. Reporter Leigh Jones of a Galveston newspaper is using twitter to post on-going mini-reports from the front line. It is fascinating and I strongly believe gives a very clear idea of the kind of reporting that will soon be standard. Note, each report is really a headline. Simple reason–tweets are text messages limited by many carriers to 140 characters are less. But a constant flow of headlines with the very latest is what today’s audiences want most. The details can wait and only for those interested in diving into the details. What is immediate–happening right now–is ultimately the only thing relevant for most audiences.
What that means is that communicators who need to communicate with internal and external audiences in an event such as Ike need to think like a reporter and do the same. Mini-reports of what is happening right now are the order of the day.
For those interested in how current communication technology is being used, might want to do a quick review of this article from PIER. (full disclosure–I’m the CEO). Twelve different organizations using PIER during Ike received over 5.7 million visits on their PIER websites in a few days. One of them nearly a million visits on their several sites with specific information. We will be providing a more detailed analysis of inquiry volume, numbers of text messages sent, etc. to help give some idea of the scale of organizational communication during a major event such as this.