Yesterday, Gerald Baron (the #1 Big Kahuna of social media in emergency management according to Patrice Cloutier’s ranking of top 25 social media emergency management influencers) gave his predictions on what will happen with SMEM in 2012. I read lots of blog articles about where we have been, and where we may be going as it relates to crisis communications. But, I have to say GB’s latest Venturing into the dangerous water of predictions for 2012 is one of the best this year.
I won’t regurgitate all of his predictions (which are spot on). But, I feel compelled to add my two cents perspective. I hope we all enter 2012 keeping his predictions in the forefront as we shape our crisis communications work plans.
1. Crisis and emergency response communication is ending as we have known it.
Yep, it’s true. The scary thing is many public and private institutions still don’t get it. They downplay the importance of pro-active engagement, and the not so new expectation of “speed of light” responsiveness. In a recent conversation with Gerald, he pointed out that a study of emergency management organizations revealed that over 50% do not have a web page for their organization. Now, that’s scary. If they don’t have this basic communication tool in their toolbox now, how the heck are they going to communicate when the feces hits the oscillator? Poorly I predict.
2. Social media channels will continue to diffuse.
I’m guessing many of you who are trying to stay on the “cutting edge” of social media crisis communications struggle with the ever increasing number of new platforms and gizmos designed to increase social interaction. I have been in an internal tug of war trying to migrate from Facebook to Google +, as I like G+’s simplicity and features. The problem is most of my friends don’t agree. Gets kind of lonesome… With that said, I agree with Gerald that integration platforms will be key in helping us monitor and respond. I like my Tweetdeck, Seesmic and Hootsuite feeds that allow me to blend my Facebook and Twitter accounts. But, I think we’ll see more robust and elegant solutions in the next year or so. Hopefully, they will be cheap (free would be good).
3. Content curation and situation awareness will be primary concerns.
I can’t really embellish further on Gerald’s thoughts here. I wrote on this topic, albeit from a “boots on the ground” perspective on Gerald’s Emergency Management blog last year. Worth a read.
4. We will speak in video and images.
Yep, totally agree. But, I need to point out one itty bitty problem….. BANDWIDTH! Hey Congress and FCC! Pull your heads out and reserve D-Block for public safety! Now!
5. Mobile Power
Pads, Droids, Siri, GPS, IPhone, etc…. yep, I get it. But, I again want to point out a couple of itty bitty problems we need to resolve… 1. Battery life/power, and 2. BANDWIDTH!
6. Threats to the internet will rise.
I don’t know how the whole SOPA thing is going to turn out. Hopefully, cooler heads prevail and rationale thought returns to Washington D.C… Regarding social responsibility and use of social media as a weapon I don’t think we can put the genie back in the bottle. All we can do ensure we have strong values, communicate them pro-actively, and respond responsibly and aggressively when they are challenged. I think Fed Ex did a pretty good job of this in the latest poor customer service “dust up” in the social media arena.
Thanks Gerald for your continued eloquent leadership. I look forward to reading your 2013 predictions!
Happy New Year!