Tweeting during a crisis: #SocialMedia Voice

Why I tweeted what I did, during the Sydney Siege. Crisis Comms and managing negative tweets. Is Ignore an option?

Just a short little post on the storm around my 3 tweets regarding the Sydney Siege.

  • Where is the social media manager for @LindtCafeAus 🙁 🙁 #MartinPlace which was retweeted 21 times
  • I hope they are ok 🙁
  • I still want to know – who is the community manager for Lindt & are they ok? Read what you want into that but does anyone know?

So here goes for those of you interested:

  • I was teaching a social media and online community manager class. The students were concerned (rightly so) and asked me if I knew the community manager and if they were ok.
  • During the break at 10:30 others were asking in the community manager  online groups I belong to who was the manager… we were all making context out of an impossible to understand situation.
  • I teach 1,000’s of social media and online community and pr and marketing people a year – and have done for the last 10 years – good chance I knew them if they were in Sydney.
  • Many cafe’s have the manager do the tweeting & facebooking, but I wasn’t sure about the Lindt cafe. In fact I assumed incorrectly (?) that Lindt office was nearby.
  • I knew Karen had been the marketing manager & heard in the forums I belong to that Alyssa was the social media manager.
  • I was unaware that Lindt was still publishing promotional “come to our cafe” stuff for four hours into the siege and then deleted them. (auto posting) so I was NOT reflecting on that.
  • If I had found the online community manager and they had a connection to me, I would’ve offered my support. I might’ve done if I didn’t know them.
  • I’ve done online community management during bushfires, floods, deaths in the community and it’s the hardest customer service job ever, and there is currently no training for it for CSRs (I’ve worked in Customer Service for large companies) or social media managers.
  • Many people have come to me (PR crisis comms etc) that had offices Martin Place and said that they felt totally unprepared for communications internally and externally inevacuating etc. I was not thinking about that at all, at the time.
  • High emotion, little “real news” and an unrealness of the situation led a few people to pounce on anything where context and civility falls to the wayside when drama and values are at war.

In a perfect world I would’ve found the characters to say “hey does anyone know who the community manager is for Lindt, is it Karen or Alyssa or the manager? Lemme know if they need help or just a shoulder to cry on, supporting those supporting the hostages” etc. My intention was true, my phrasing was muddy. For THAT I apologise.

Those that want to take issue with my thoughts, will do so. They are the same people that drew attention away from the hostage situation to me and others.
For the rest of you – here are 8 ways to deal with negative criticism online. Please note, I took the IGNORE option for 3 days so as not to pull attention from the awful hostage situation, & the resultant sad fact of a man murdering 2 people in cold blood and the aftermath of Sydney Siege. Hard as it was for me, staying silent is the only option when the issue is not about you but about more important things. And still is.

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  1. Ben don’t go there – sore spot – that car had nary a scratch on it for all of it’s 15 years of life until I got hold of it. 😛
    Graham you caught me out! I sit at home leaving silly comments on people’s blogs instead of consulting around the world. LOL.

  2. All over the world? Golly you just peaked with impressiveness. Any chance of a Tony Robbins style infomercial in the near future?

  3. Hey Graham, there’s heaps of videos of me working/presenting/training in Saudi Arabia, Japan, Portugal etc. Just have a look on YouTube. 🙂 Laurel

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