Crisis Management Quotables…on the Life of Words

You can’t rely on others to tell your story

The inspiration for today’s Crisis Management Quotable hardly needs any introduction. Carol Burnett is one of the most famous actresses and comedians of all time, and she’s left a trail of quotes sharing wisdom and laughter throughout her career.

Words, once they are printed, have a life of their own. — Carol Burnett

I wish I had a date for this quote, because I would bet it was well before the madness we’re seeing today. Words of any kind, whether spoken or written, have always been taken out of context by those looking to push a certain angle on a story. Now, with the ability for anyone to be a ‘reporter’ via the internet and social media, it’s gone to a whole new level.

Why is this pertinent to crisis management? It’s the reason why we tell clients that it’s essential to become the source of information about their own crises, and why we often include use of platforms like blogs, situation-specific landing pages, and social media to publish that information. It’s far too easy for an outsider to use a small portion of what you’ve told them and twist it to nearly any means. If you publish on platforms you have 100% control of you’re able to express your story, and to make it more difficult for others to share things piecemeal or out of context.

It’s not a perfect solution, but it does help prevent those words from getting up and rearranging themselves into something you didn’t want to say!

Erik Bernstein

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