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Analyse The Use Of Social Media As A Communication Medium

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Question:

Discuss about the Analyse Use Of Social Media As A Communication Medium In A Crisis Situation.
 
 

Answer:

Introduction

Crisis management is one of the important critical functions of the organisation.  The function involves planning & response to the events that are unpredictable. The effects of the unfold crisis undermines the ability of the country to manage it effectively. This results in serious harm to the people, structures, assets & dignity of the country. The increasing demand of the social media tools has brought significant changes in the landscape of the crisis management.  The social media has considerably been used in many critical situations to manage the issues. The social media has been used by the organisation to disseminate news and they gather information and study the information efficiently & effectively. The use of social media requires being made with due care to prevent a crisis (Cheung, 2007). This has the ability to prevent the crisis and at another hand, this can also aggravate an unfolding crisis event.  The social media can be an immediate media for managing the crisis and coming out of the difficulties. The social media also can be dangerous for ventilating wrong messages. The social media has been used by the people to spread the wrong message in the community.

The present situation discusses a crisis when a man enters the company with a gun which indicates something wrong is impending. In the absence of the manager, the responsibility is bestowed on the assistant manager to manage the crisis which is very difficult to handle.  The news was communicated to the manager of the organisation by one employee of the organisation. The intimation was considered as wrong as the responsibility of managing the crisis was the assistant manager. The employee has done the job immediately in order to intimate the crisis to the manager although the manner is on leave. The action initiated by the employee was not meant to violate the hierarchy. This was meant to communicate the manager to take immediate action during the crisis. Thus it is a matter of debate for every concern on the importance of social media in disseminating information and the merit and demerit of it. The use of social media as the means of communication becomes a subject for introspection in these kinds of situations.

The role of social media for the communication of information is undeniable.  The social media is used as a tool to communicate information. The use of the communication defines whether it has a good or bad impact. The same tool can be used for negative impact and similarly, this can also be used positively for facilitating and developing the speed & breadth of communication.  Thus the use of the social media as a tool for the preparedness of the crisis, response to the crisis and recovery from the crisis is very much important. The correct use of the social media effectively to respond a crisis is very much important.  The appropriate use of social media and best practices can strengthen the management of crisis and develops the abilities of every organisation to use it as when it requires.

 

Understanding the landscape of the social media

 In an ordinary sense, social media is a medium of facilitating social interaction & the communication that is done with the help of the internet-based platform that is done online.  Social media tools are of different categories (The Washington Times, 2009).  Social media sites like Facebook, Twitters, blogs etc are the sites that work very fast to disseminate information. The other social sites that are very active like YouTube, Flickr etc., those are used to communicate content, photos, audio & videos very quickly to the people. Google is a social review site which offers immediate information to the users. The collective features of the social media are to connect people across the globes and help to connect users from one source to another source with the help of web link.

Use of social media in management of crisis

The nature of the crisis is very complex.  The crisis can move at a very fast speed and with the use of the social media, it becomes very dangerous.  Thus it is always important to aware the people to use social media to enhance the capacity of the community to anticipate and prepare the crisis (Bakx, 2012).  Social media manager plays a vital role in sensitizing people the importance of the social media.

 

Social media for the crisis management of the organisation and for communication plan

Organisations utilise the social media tools effectively for the management of the crisis. The purpose of the use of the social media tools in the organisation is to share content and to utilise people or engage them effectively and creatively.  Appropriate handling of a situation depends on the capabilities of the crisis manager who is engaged in gathering information on the changing environment and this is very much important for the people those who are affected by it.  For generating actionable knowledge, the tools of the social media will be a considered as a support for the process of the decision making at the appropriate time (Cole, 2009).

Social media has been considered as a source for collecting and transmitting information to a numerous audience. It becomes a means of gathering information on the existing challenges and to get innovative ways and effective solutions in order to enhance the management of the crisis. There is a need of making an analysis of the emerging issues and the cross-cutting effects of them are very complex. The social manager takes the help of the social media to make an analysis of interdependencies of the data and the associated relationships in order to offer a better knowledge on the emerging issues and their effects. For the communication plan, the social media is very helpful. The tools are very useful to integrate & streamline the processes of the crisis management in order to satisfy the needed information for all the involved stakeholders. This is very helpful for improving the speed & accuracy of the communication of the crisis.

 

The role of social media tools during the phases of the crisis management

The crisis management can be divided into three phases. They are: (i) preparedness for the crisis, (2) response to the crisis, (3) recovery from crisis

During the phase of the preparedness of the crisis, the organisation focuses on preventive activities that can immediately reduce the risks. The team of the crisis management is trained and planning is made to manage the crisis.

During the phase of the crisis response, the focus is given on the quick effectiveness of the immediate response (Kotsiopoulos, 2017).  There is always a need for the awareness of the situation quickly in order to help the authorities respond to the situation effectively soon after the crisis is found. The employee of the organisation took the similar step by informing the authority about the crisis that was hit to the organisation (ALEJANDRO, 2017). The employee made the right action to communicate the situation. Although the manager was on leave and the assistant manager was in the charge of taking a decision. But the employees did not breach the law of hierarchy rather he took the social media as a medium to ventilate the information immediately. This is very imperative to say that in this critical situation the effective use of the social media tool is very critical (instituteforpr.org, 2014). This is very critical to use the community networks for gathering, analyzing & disseminating information in the appropriate time. The employee of the organisation took immediate step to ventilate the information to the manager without making delay (JCC PRO, 2017). The timely information could make the manager take necessary action and help the assistant manager to take immediate steps to face the crisis.

In the phase of the recovery of crisis, this is very important for the crisis manager to make a long-term plan and to work for establishing the normal situation after the situation is handled. 

The social media is very useful for the crisis management of an organisation.  The social media can be sued for the disseminating the information and making plan and train people for the disaster management (Branson, 2013). This is also helpful for the collaborative problem solving and for making a decision. This is also used for gathering information. In the context of the incident, we can conclude that the employee has done no mistake in providing the information to the manager with the help of social media (Forbes, 2013).  The social media will help for the collaborative problem solving and for making the decision jointly.  This will ultimately help the assistant manager to get instant help from the manager and the situation can be handled easily (Daugherty, 2009).

 

Need of the strategic guidelines

The crisis management is also like any kind of project management of the organisation. The crisis management plan has to be made so that the organisation will remain ready to face any kind of disaster in the future. The organisation should have clear and appropriate guidelines for use of social media tools for the management of the crisis. The guideline should focus on the need for the rules to ensure the process of putting the information in the social media in a timely manner (Coombs, 2007). The guidelines of the organisation should also ensure that which information should be ventilated through social media and which information should be kept confidential.  The social media should also be used for obtaining the critical intelligence (MARASSI, 2014).  As the social media is the only channel to intimate the information to the users about the crisis thus the guidelines should be framed for the successful and accurate information dissemination.

There is also a need for the capability development. There is also a need for detecting mechanism so that the crisis will be discovered (Kazokiene, 2011). The social media will engage the active groups on the social media to contribute during the crisis. The social media will help to make analysis of the preparedness and the responses to the crisis.

Role of social media in the business communication plan

A business communication plan is prepared by the management of the organisation to communicate the information related to the organisation to all the stakeholders.  The management of the organisation informs the stakeholders about the development of the strategies, plans, performance, requirements, policies, meeting plan and all other required things for the development of the organisation (Flynn, 2011).

A communication plan is prepared by the management o the company to intimate the information from one source to others. The communication is made through the meeting, email and general meeting etc. The social media will be helpful to make the communication plan successful (Cormode & Krsihnamurthi, 2008).

The social media will also be helpful for quick dissemination of the information. The management of the companies intimates the stakeholders of the organisation about the changes and developments. The immediate information ventilated to all comes into force immediately.  Thus social media helps the organisation to have a successful communication plan. The communication plan helps the organisation to communicate the strategies and the required information to all the stakeholders.

Conclusion

The use of Smartphone has brought significant changes in the medium of disseminating the information and connecting people of different places.  There is an urgent need of carefully considering the applications of the social media. The applications of the social media can also be incorporated in order to manage the crisis and for the effective management of the critical situations. The technologies of the social media help citizens of a country for the crisis of the management with a greater role. These technologies help the people in preparing for & managing crisis that helps to build flexible communities. There is always a need to take necessary actions against such crisis and encourage people to help each other during the time when the crisis is faced. The crisis management team of the organisation should take all the responsibilities to manage the crisis.

 

Bibliography

ALEJANDRO, J. (2017). Download 'Journalism in the Age of Social Media' (PDF). Retrieved 04 16, 2017, from https://reutersinstitute.politics.ox.ac.uk/.../Journalism%20in%20the%20Age%20of%20

Bakx, M. (2012). the role of social media in crisis communication from a democratic. Retrieved 04 16, 2017, from essay.utwente.nl/62391/1/MSc_M_Bakx.pdf

Branson, E. (2013). Campaign in a Box: Creating a Universal Public Relations Plan for. Retrieved 04 16, 2017, from digitalcommons.calpoly: digitalcommons.calpoly.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1070&context=joursp

Cheung, V. (2007). The Power of Social Networking Sites, CNET Asia. Retrieved 04 16, 2017, from https://asia.cnet.com/blogs/hktechphooey/post.htm?id=63001502.

Cole, R. (2009). Social Media: What Does it Mean for Public Managers?,. Public Management., 8-12.

Coombs, W. T. (2007). Ongoing crisis communication: Planning, Managing, and responding. Los Angeles: Sage.

Cormode, G., & Krsihnamurthi, B. (2008, Cormode,G. and Krishnamurthy). Key differences between Web 1.0. Retrieved 04 2017, 2017, from https://firstmonday.org/htbin/cgiwrap/bin/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/2125/19

Daugherty, E. (2009). Strategic Planning in Public Relations: A Matrix that Ensures Tactical Soundness. Retrieved 04 16, 2017, from Public Relations: Strategies And Tactics, 9/E: https://books.google.co.in/books?isbn=8131727432

Flynn, S. a. (2011). Connecting America: Building Resilience with Social Media.

Forbes, S. P. (2013). Applying Strategic management to Publci Relations. The Public Relations Journal, 48(3), 32.

instituteforpr.org. (2014, 09 23). Crisis Management and Communications (Updated September 2014 ... Retrieved 04 16, 2017, from www.instituteforpr.org › Research Library › Crisis Management

JCC PRO. (2017). the role of social media in crisis preparedness, response and ... - OECD. Retrieved 04 16, 2017, from www.oecd.org/.../The%20role%20of%20Social%20media%20in%20crisis%20prepare

Kazokiene, L. (2011). Criteria for the Evaluation of Public Relations Effectiveness - CiteSeerX. Retrieved 04 16, 2017, from citesserx.ist.psu,edu: citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.922.6052&rep=rep1

Kotsiopoulos, I. (2017). Social Media in Crisis Management: Role, Potential and Risk. Retrieved 04 16, 2017, from https://www.cosmic-project.eu/sites/default/files/conferences/Social%20Media%20in%20Crisis%20Management.pdf

MARASSI, V. (2014). A Global Perspective on Social Media and the Culture of Autonomy. Retrieved 04 16, 2017, from https://wpmu.mah.se/nmict142group8/2014/10/10/a-global-perspective-on-social-media-and-the-culture-of-autonomy/

The Washington Times. (2009, 06 19). “Iran’s Twitter Revolution”,. The Washington Times.

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