Microblogs & Crisis Communication

i got introduced to facebook and hence twitter recently. while exploring these toys, i could not help but wonder if they could be used in more controlled environment and for specific activities.

i read in few forums on how organizations were toying with different ways to use the web 2.0 tools like blogs, networking sites etc. there were few which touched upon the topic of microblogs and their pros and cons within an enterprise. one of the uses that came to my mind was the use of these during a crisis/incident.

one of the important aspects of crisis management is to open and maintain a reliable communication channel between the first/emergency responders/participants of crisis management teams. the ability of the team to coordinate, communcate effectively with each other in a timely fashion can also be crucial in determining the adequacy, speed and effectiveness of the response.  During a crisis, organizations also need to communicate effectively with all of their employees, many of whom may be dispersed around the world. apart from the first responders/crisis management teams, the employees are also required to be updated on the situation. communicating with employees during such a disruption is vital to invoking the business continuity plans, ensuring key processes are maintained and that all staff are aware of the event status. however it is not feasible for a the crisis management eams to receive hundreds of phone calls from employees trying to get an update or seek direction.

initially organizations relied on conferencing technology to enable crisis management team to quickly and efficiently bring together the management team to implement the business continuity plan. this is where the web 2.0 toys like twitter and the likes of it can play a crucial role. these tools can be used to keep status update messages to the entire team and if required to the employees with minimal effort. on exploring further, i realized that unlike twitter, another tool going by the name of “yammer” (for more information on yammer try – www.yammer.com) can be used effectivelt in a controlled environment. it uses the corporate email id to register users, allows flexibility to create orgnzation structure (one level up and below along with peers) and create groups. the only drawback so far is its support of limited number of telco providers thus restricting its use across the enterprise spread across different geo’s.

while twitter is good to keep in touch with friends and family members, tools like yammer are evolving to bring the advantages of these new & budding technologies to an enterprise at fraction of cost.

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One Response

  1. right Taj, even i was thinking of the same lines. Technologies like twitter, yammer should be leveraged by enterprises during crisis times and as a tool for collaboration. twitter was used heavily during mumbai crisis.

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