Social media provides valuable platform for military crisis management
On May 1, 2010, Naval Support Activities Mid-South experienced floodwaters that displaced over 300 families, single sailors and geographic bachelors, destroyed office buildings, stranded cars and shut off electricity and telephone services.
After the first day’s flooding, David Crenshaw, NSA Mid-South’s public affairs officer, logged on to the command Facebook page and found the command had yet to utilize it as a means of providing any official word. But the base residents had been active, uploading their own photos of the flood, sharing stories and asking questions. The “fan” count had gone from less than 900 on April 30 to more than 1,200 in the few hours since the flooding began.
“We decided that if social media was where our base population was looking for information on the flood, then that’s where we were going to give it to them,” said Crenshaw.
It may come as a shock to some, but this quote from a Northwest Navigator blog post demonstrates that yet another government agency has began to show its intelligence when it comes to fluid communication using the Web, and social media in particular. Prompted, as many organizations are, by the efforts of individual members, the Navy has jumped on the social media bandwagon wholeheartedly.
Although they provide an invaluable service to our country, it’s an unavoidable fact that military groups have a constant reputation management battle to fight, especially in times of conflict. Having an active social media presence not only presents a powerful listening platform for the Navy, but also creates unique and powerful crisis management opportunities.
The BCM Blogging Team