During a Crisis
- Between the two of us, we used a social media combination of Twitter and Facebook to keep the community updated.
- Twitter and Facebook accounts follow/like each other and others on campus.
- Make sure you have TweetDeck or a comparable tool, as well as mobile versions at work and home.
Nyleva: I made a quick decision not to use the university's central Facebook page because I was concerned about managing the comments that would come in. For the future, I will post on Facebook but alert the community that this won't immediately be a channel for interactive feedback, or I will designate a staff role dedicated to responding to comments from visitors on our social media channels.
Chris: our Facebook channels didn't have many followers so moderation had not been an issue. Luckily, comments were incredibly supportive. I would plan for closing comments next time.
Questions for You
- Do you use social media platforms for emergency communications?
- If so, what are the procedures and policies around that? Who manages the channels?
- If not, why?
- Would you leave comments open?
(Lots of) Things Happen
- 911/call centers got overburdened, and the Police Department had to resort to mobile phones
- Server load shot through the roof
- Cell phones died
- Crappy hash tag
- Mass confusion
- SWAT team, mass law enforcement (multiple agencies)
- News media
- Language/terms used to communicate, such as “lockdown” and “shelter in place,” as well as references to the “suspect”
Questions for You
- Have you had to interact closely with outside agencies/responders?
- Educate your community with safety terms, and don’t rely on specific terms, such as “shelter in place” versus a more common phrase “stay inside, lock doors.”
Where's the (information) beef?
- We experienced an information black hole, and we felt like we weren’t updating the community quickly enough. Officials were still figuring out what was going on.
- Also, in trying to listen to the announcements from the loudspeaker system for reliable updates, there were sound vacuums in certain areas of campus.
- Update regularly. Let people know that there isn’t a status change, every 15-20 minutes.
- Friends and families are worried and need reassurance.
- You may have to rely on news media reports. Also, students, parents and spectators will post their versions of what’s happening on social media channels.
Ask and They Will Receive
There will be Freedom of Information requests.
Start documenting feeds and Web and social media communications immediately.