Chevron being blamed for dumping waste water, McDonald’s response to Super Size Me and Vodafone’s trouble with a Sydney employee who touted customers as idiots on Facebook and Twitter for their lack of technical knowledge (Courtenay, 2013). These are the problems that many public relations practitioners would deem crises. Yet, in comparison to the true disasters the world is enduring at this very moment, like political turmoil in Egypt and Gaza and an etho-geographical dispute in Eastern Europe, the fact that Vodafone’s Arthur Kotsopoulos said some customers needed a “pimp slap backhand” (Courtenay, 2013) seems like more of a drop in the ocean.
Although it is feared in many public relations circles for the speed at which sensationalist reports can spread, in essence social media can be a force for good in the crisis communications sphere (Schwartzman, 2013). The reach and speed of social media makes it an ideal platform on which to communicate with the masses in times of trouble. Journalists and PR practitioners are fast learning how to maximise the effectiveness of such means to disseminate information with modern police reporting – where journalists are required to live tweet and post details as a story progresses proving popular with audiences.
Courtenay, A. (2013). Australia’s biggest PR disasters. Retrieved from http://www.theage.com.au/small-business/finance/australias-biggest-pr-disasters-20130926-2ugli.html
Schwartzman, E. (2013). Crisis Communications in the Network Age. Retrieved from http://www.socialmediatoday.com/content/crisis-communications-network-age