One of the things that the current situation in Japan has shown the global community – especially those in crisis communications – the power of collaboration and community that these new emerging platforms offer to individuals. Google has launched their People Finder website along with their Crisis Response Page to provide a one-stop website for professionals, victims, media, and others to get access to the information regarding the Japan disaster.
Twitter appears to be the dominant force in communicating information and updates, making short statements regarding the various situations and impact it has to specific locations. In addition, their Hope140Blog provides a good overview of the key Twitter usernames to follow that share updates in both English and Japanese. Facebook has also seen a large amount of activity among their users in not only sharing their thoughts and comments with others – but it has been a channel where people have gone to donate to the cause and relief efforts for Japan. Save the Children and American Red Cross are the two non-profit organizations that are highlighted as being the main organizations that social media users are donating to through Facebook.
However, other social media sites and brands have been active and really created a new platform and opportunity for crisis communication professionals to take notice of, and these include social games and coupon-based websites. Zynga integrated donation features where users of the game could buy virtual goods through their various games like Farmville, Cafe Word, Cityville, while Groupon and LivingSocial have both been active in offering ways for their users to donate to the American Red Cross and the International Medical Corps. What this shows crisis communication professionals is the power of community and reaching out specifically towards a specific audience to call for them to act and feel that they contributed to the cause in a significant way.
There are many other ways to donate to the relief efforts for the Japan tsunami event, and what this tells those of us in crisis communications is that these are tools that 1) we have to be aware of their power and presence in the social media community; 2) understand the nature and dialogue among these different channels to best frame and motivate individuals to act or share information with others in this community and 3) determine the best way to evaluate the communication strategies and tactics implemented in these various platforms. In terms of case studies, the Japanese tsunami event will be one to review for years to come not only looking at the power of user-generated content shared throughout the global community, but the power of cooperation and community emerging during a disaster and cause-related crisis communication message strategies.
Hope you all are having a wonderful day!