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Share This Too: More Social Media Solutions for PR Professionals by Stephen Waddington, Rob Brown, Chartered Institute of Public Relations

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Chapter 18

Online Crisis Management

Chris Norton

In the era of 24-hour news, social media and mobile devices, news spreads quicker than ever before. Organizations don't have as much control over their marketing messages and, as a result, news of a crisis can travel in seconds. This chapter explores the increasing risk of an online crisis and offers advice, guidance and examples on how to identify and respond to an online crisis efficiently.

With the increasing popularity of forums, social media and 24-hour online news, our fans and followers out there are now liking, commenting and sharing our content around the clock. This is great when things are positive, but in times of crisis it can cause a problem. The growth of citizen journalism can make it feel as though everybody has a voice and they are just waiting to criticize.

The most worrying aspect is that a controversial story can be trending before you have even sat down at your desk. News spreads instantly and often isn't properly checked and doesn't abide by the rules that traditional media do.

A crisis can rapidly result in damage to stakeholders, losses or, even worse, the end of the organization. Handling the communication around a crisis effectively is critical and PR practitioners should form an integral part of any crisis management team and, more importantly, should understand the ethics and rules of digital media.

A crisis can be damaging to the value of the organization. A report by the Oxford Executive found that ...

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