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Social Media In A Crisis Situation

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Question:

Discuss about the Critical Analysis of Use of Social Media in a Critical Situation.

 

Answer:

Introduction

In the growing complexities and advancements of the business communication, the use of social media will be effective for a business organization to improve the way of communication at the time of emergencies or crisis situations. The social media communication tools enhance the collectivity, clarity, connectedness, completeness, and collaboration of the business communication for managing the complexities of the communication in the critical situations. This essay will provide a detailed understanding of the critical analysis of the use of social media in the crisis situations (Belford, 2014). This will describe the topic of the use of social media in crisis by analyzing the use of the social media as a best communication means in crisis, the involvement of social media in the business plan, and the way of using the social media in influencing the communication in both positive and negative ways in the critical situations. This will analyze my role, responsibility, and creative thinking to handle the complex situation to communicate with the boss regarding the man enters my premises with a weapon in the absence of my boss.

Social Media as an Effective Communication Medium in Crisis or Emergency

The use of the social media networking sites or tools (Facebook, e-mails, Yahoo, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Blogs) will develop a broad understanding of the conceptual, strategic, and practical implications of the communication and relevance of communication at the time of emergencies or crisis situations within the workplace in the organization. The social media involves social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, WhatsApp) and blogs, Bookmarking sites (delicious.com, reditt.com, and dig.com), Collaborative projects (e.g. Wikipeadia), Content communities (e.g. You Tube and Flickr), and special reviews (e.g. Google Places or Adwords).   The use of social media will assist in content sharing and communication through the social networks and blogs, tag and share content through the bookmarking sites, collaborative projects through the user generated content (e.g. Wikipedia), sharing contents, such as photos or images, and videos through the content communities, such as YouTube, Flickr, and sharing personalized formation and providing recommendations by using the social reviews (Benedict, 2014).

At the crisis moments, the social media provides four functions including information dissemination, disaster or emergency planning, collaborative problem-solving and decision-making and information gathering or accessing. The information is mapped onto three phases of crisis or emergency management including preparedness, response, and recovery to describe how the social media tools may be used to enhance the effectiveness of the crisis communications.

 


The social media is an effective communication way to interact with anyone because the mostly people are connected and spends their most of the time regularly on the social media, such as Facebook, whatsApp, and twitter to communicate with family members, friends/colleagues, relatives, and office staff members (Benedict, 2014). The communication through the social media may be in form of emails, intranets, blogs, videos, displays, newsletters, and other various forms of communication to communicate about the crisis situations or critical events.

Crisis or emergency management is a critical organizational function that will include the contingent planning and dynamic incident response to the crisis situations by using the online discussion platforms, news aggregators for disseminating, acquiring, and analyzing information more comprehensively and efficiently. The social media sites have the strong ability to prevent crisis from spiraling out of control to aggravate the unfolding crisis situation (Chan, 2016). For example, the UK riot in 2011 was a case of the influence of social media questioning the small protest against the apparent police brutality in Tottenham that could spark vandalism and riots. The social media played a role of catalyst as the rioters and onlookers used social media networking sites to organize and communicate the numerous new reports.

During the crisis, the social media tools could be used as effective means of communication because the social media is the most critical channel at the time of emergencies or crisis for creating the real-time and rapid communication in such contingent conditions. The social media will be an effective communication medium that will assist me in taking the rapid and urgent decisions at the time of crisis or emergencies. This will assist me in sharing information with my boss and subordinates for the regular updates of the current situations, freedom of decision-making, and getting online information for handling the complex situation of crisis (Chawala, 2016). The social media communication will have a degree of control on my decision-making and action in the crisis by making the shared decision after communicating with my boss through the social media chatting.

This social media will provide me a platform to connect with the organizational members as well as outsider people by using the multiple forms of social media channels. This will assist me to understand the feelings, emotions, perceptions, and values of others and to make ethical judgment for the organizational welfare and growth. It will assist in resolving the organizational conflicts and inter-organizational problems by encouraging more communication among the staff members within the organization. The social media will assist me to take the real-time and accurate decisions at the time of emergencies or contingent situations for responding rapidly to the situation by reducing the communication appreciation (Dijck, 2013). By using the social media forms, I will discuss the critical situation with my boss about the man entering with weapon or gun and causing for huge terror at the organization that may disturb the functioning of the operations and activities in the organization.

The organizational staff members are feared with this sudden attack by an outsider man. I am also shocked from this sudden unfavorable criminal moment. In such contingent, situation, the use of social media will be an effective communication medium to get the real-time assistance by communicating this situation with my boss and to get the suggestion or advice on how to handle this critical situation and provide me an appropriate solution so that I could arrive at right decision in this crisis situation. By using the social media networking sites, such as WhatsApp, Twitter, Instagram or video calling, I will be able to get the immediate response from my boss in such critical situation. I will be able to send the digital post or video of the current scenario of this crisis with my boss. I may also tweet about the current situation on the twitter that will assist me in getting the quick response from my boss with a recommendation solution on handling such situation by using the experiences of my boss (Dutta, 2013). I may also use WhatsApp video calling to create the two-way dialogue with my boss in order to represent the actual scenario of the current situation at the organization so that my boss could be introduce with the actual condition and will give appropriate guidance to me for taking immediate decision and action on the unfavorable activity or sudden attack from the man with a gun.

 

Social Media as a business communication plan

According to me, the social media should be considered in the business communication plan that will improve the communication among the organizational members to share the latest business updates, information, and data related to the relevant industry. By using the social media tools, it will be easy for the senior management to communicate the organizational vision, mission, goals, objectives, values, and strategies with the organizational members. The social media sites will also be effective to give information of the changes in the product quality, the schedule of company meetings, seminars, events, and timing of shifting, training and development programs to the employees (Guffey and Loewy, 2014). The social media will be an effective medium of communicating with the customers about the branded products and services and collecting their feedbacks on the existing products and service quality so that further changes could be made in the product development and manufacturing operations in order to produce the high quality and value-added products.

The social media will provide a fast and effective communication medium to communicate the business plan with the team members. The social media networking sites will provide the latest and relevant data of the changing customers’ needs, preferences, and expectations for serving them effectively by making changes in the products and services as per their feedbacks. The social media sites provide an opportunity for engaging and interacting with the people in the emergencies or crises by disseminating the information to them and accessing information from them in the form of messages, text, videos, images, digital posts, newsfeeds, or other forms or ways of communication for sharing the information with them (Lach, 2016).

The social media will provide the timely and regular updates on the current industry trends and fluctuating environment conditions related to the industry. For example, the MNCs, like Burberry, Tesco, Nestle, and Coca Cola use social media an effective promotional tool to promote the products and services of their brands through the digital marketing posts and conveying the promotional message to the targeted audiences in order to create the high brand awareness and customer loyalty toward the branded products of the company (Lovink, 2016).

 

Ways to respond the crisis by using social media to influence communication in both positive and negative way

During emergency events or crisis situations, such as terrorism attacks, earthquake or hurricane, storms or floods and sudden incidents or unfavorable happenings, the individuals are exposed to share the real-time and large amount of information with the people with whom he/she is likely to interact. The Facebook, Twitter, blogs, Youtube, LinkedIn, Netlong, and Google+ may be useful to handle the crisis situations in order to take quick and right decisions. Twitter and Facebook are mostly used by the companies to tweet for communicating with the customers regarding the product quality, service delivery, and pricing of the products (Richards and StudioD, 2015). For example, Southwest Flight 345 that landed nose first at LaGuardia is an example of the use of social media in the crisis situation that helped in getting quick response, holding open communication, and maintaining good faith with its customers. Southwest used the social media in the form of Facebook and Twitter for getting the immediate response from the customer with the statements and information.

The social media create benefits to the businesses by promoting the company’s products through the digital communication campaign or communicating the promotional message with the targeted audiences to attract the customers toward the branded products and services by creating the high brand awareness and loyalty in the mindsets of the customers. The social media will create the crisis communications in the positive way by ensuring the speed, interaction, engagement, and authenticity, control of message, visibility, transparency, boundaries, crisis facilitation and triggers (White, 2016). The social media in the crisis will assist to get immediate response, active listening to the targeted audiences or desired people, building two-way dialogue, being accountable, reacting to the situation, being open, honest, transparent, and credible, being compassionate and authentic, and creating video communication by using the video technologies.

 


Despite of numerous benefits of using social media, the exploitation of social media via information technologies may create several issues, such as informational ethics, individual liberties, public safety, and consequence of misuse. Sometimes, the use of social media may result into the negative publicity by creating the negative image of the brand into the public or targeted audiences because some people are not likely to give more preferences to the social media advertisements. The use of social media may cause for the weak or ineffective communication with the targeted customers (Schwarz, Seeger, and Auer, 2016). The social media communication may also cause for the poor decision-making because the immediate decisions can also create complexities rather than handling the crisis situations because the rapid communication and quick decisions could be against the welfare of the businesses.

The social media marketing could lead to weak sales performance because of the negative responses from the customers toward the company’s products and services. The involvement of social media in the business plan as a promotional tool and communication medium may also involve the risks and uncertainties (Simon, Goldberg, and Adini, 2015). The information shared through the social media communication may also be exposed to the general public that will lose the confidence of the people. Sometimes, the confidential or secret information could be open in public before the audiences. The social media may create the negative impact on the brand image through spreading of misinformation.

Conclusion

From the above discussions on the essay, it can be stated that the online communication through the use of social media is faster than the traditional forms of communication. The video communication technologies also create video communication by using the social media tool, what’s-app video calling. The social media will create an effective two-way communication with my boss to communicate about the crisis of the current scenario for taking immediate decision and action on this crisis situation. The social media will create a sense of communication and level of trust and loyalty among the targeted audiences or customers. The social media communication will create two-way diagonal communication for responding fast to the crisis situation, evading responsibility, reducing offensiveness, minimization and denial, preparedness for the quick decision-making and taking corrective action.

 

References

Belford, B. (2014). How to Respond to a Social Media Crisis. [Online]. Available at: https://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/defend-your-social-media-reputation/. (Accessed: 11 April 2017).

Benedict, P. L. (2014). A Critical Synthesis and Thematic Analysis of the Use of Social Media in Higher Education Marketing. USA: Tarleton State University.

Brown, J. (2015). Is Social Media the Key to Effective Communication During Campus Emergencies? [Online]. Available at: https://www.govtech.com/em/disaster/Social-Media-Communication-Campus-Emergencies.html. (Accessed: 11 April 2017).

Chan, C. J. (2016). THE ROLE OF SOCIAL MEDIA IN CRISIS PREPAREDNESS, RESPONSE AND RECOVERY. [Online]. Available at: https://www.oecd.org/governance/risk/The%20role%20of%20Social%20media%20in%20crisis%20preparedness,%20response%20and%20recovery.pdf. (Accessed: 11 April 2017).

Chawla, A. (2016). Managing the Madness: The Role of Social Media in a Crisis. [Online]. Available at: https://www.govtech.com/videos/Managing-the-Madness-The-Role-of-Social-Media-in-a-Crisis.html. (Accessed: 11 April 2017).

Dijck, V. J. (2013). The Culture of Connectivity: A Critical History of Social Media. New York: Oxford University Press.

Dutta, S. (2013). BUSINESS COMMUNICATION. Australia: PHI Learning Pvt. Ltd.

Fuchs, C. (2017). Social Media: A Critical Introduction. Canada: Sage Publication.

Guffey, E. M. and Loewy, D. (2014). Business Communication: Process and Product. USA: Cengage Learning.

Lach, A. (2016). The Four Rules of Managing Crisis on Social Media. [Online]. Available at: https://www.piercom.com/insight/4-rules-managing-crisis-social-media/. (Accessed: 11 April 2017).

Lovink, G. (2016). Social Media Abyss: Critical Internet Cultures and the Force of Negation. USA: John Wiley& Sons.

Richards, L. and StudioD (2015). Effective Business Communication Methods. [Online]. Available at: https://www.tutorialspoint.com/management_concepts/communication_methods.htm. (Accessed: 11 April 2017). 

Schwarz, A., Seeger, W. M., and Auer, C. (2016). The Handbook of International Crisis Communication Research. USA: John Wiley& Sons.

Simon, T., Goldberg, A., and Adini, B. (2015). ‘Socializing in emergencies—A review of the use of social media in emergency situations’ International Journal of Information Management’, Vol. 35(5), pp. 609-619.

White, M. C. (2016). Social Media, Crisis Communication, and Emergency Management: Leveraging Web 2.0 Technologies. Australia: CRC Press.

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