#PRStudentScribbles: Crisis Communications

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Welcome! 

I am a full time MSc Student in Public Relations and Communications at Ulster University since the end of September. I am a law graduate from Trinity College Dublin (1997) and practised as a solicitor for the last 18 years.

Why do I listen to Podcasts? 

As I am a newcomer to the study of Public Relations and Communications, it is important that I identify reliable educational information online  and take notes old style!

One exciting development from a mature student point of view is the rise of Podcast Shows as a rich source of information. As someone who enjoys auditory learning, Podcasts are perfect as I can vary the speed, volume and pause the show regularly to scribble down key points! Podcasts help me to connect the dots between the theory, research and practice of PR and Communications. 

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#ThisWeekinPR 

In #ThisWeekinPR published by the PR Academy on 4 October,  I noted the recommendation of The Digital Download hosted by Paul Sutton with Kate Hartley: How to handle misinformation in a crisis [podcast] (1 October).

Crisis and reputation 

In Episode 2, Season 5, crisis expert Kate Hartley and Paul Sutton, Digital Communications Consultant and founder of The Digital Download Podcast and Conference discussed the rise of misinformation and how to handle all things ‘fake’ in a crisis situation. The podcast is of particular interest as Kate Hartley looks at psychology  rather than conventional crisis management. 

Fake news and propaganda have existed for decades, if not centuries. But with social media algorithms reinforcing confirmation bias and with the advent of deep fake technology, misinformation has reached unprecedented levels. As a result, trust has plummeted and corporate crises are becoming ever-more common.

In this episode of the Digital Download Podcast, I talk to Kate Hartley from crisis simulation platform Polpeo. Kate has recently written a book called Communicate in a Crisis that takes a detailed look at why people behave the way they do on social media, how misinformation spreads as a result and how companies can best handle this.  -Paul Sutton 

The Podcast 

My Podcast Scribbles  

  • Outrage has become currency for some people on social media. Accordingly, fake news can be circulated in crisis situations. 
  • Crisis planning is now essential for every organisation. 
  • Brands should react to information online by being the source of truth in a crisis.  
  • Be the individual, company, brand that people come to when something goes wrong.
  • Be the trusted voice of authority so that people believe you. 
  • Look at psychology rather than conventional crisis management. You cannot respond effectively in a crisis if you don’t understand how people are behaving in that crisis. You have to understand how they are behaving and how that is changing because some of the old crisis responses just don’t work any more. 
  • You cannot wait for the next news cycle to come out. Think about people’s need for immediate information as people can spread fake news about your brand in the crisis and deliberately share misinformation.  
  • Some industry bodies are trying to move away from the term “fake news” to the term “misinformation.” 
  • Some people accidentally spread misinformation because they believe it to be true. Other people deliberately spread misinformation as they have some sort of malicious intent.
  • The pressure that consumers are putting on brands means they have to be more honest and transparent than they ever have been before. 
  • Be the source of truth.  Be the source of truth. Be the source of truth! NO2

     

    Recommended Books

    • Communicate in a Crisis by Kate Hartley
    • Crisis Communications Management (PRCA Practice Guides) by Adrian Wheeler
    • Marketing Rebellion: The Most Human Company Wins by Mark W. Schaefer.

    Nóirín O’Neill is an MSc Student in Communication & Public Relations at Ulster University. She can be found on Twitter @Noirin0Neill and on LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/n%C3%B3ir%C3%ADn-o-neill-426b91110/

     

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A quick guide to Public Relations Tweetchats

“Twitter is the new melting pot of ideas, people, and disruptive innovation.” Audun Utengen, Co-founder of Symplur and the Healthcare Hashtag Project

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#PowerandInfluence Tweetchat

One very high profile #PR tweetchat which took place on Wednesday 2 October 2019 was #PowerandInfluence founded by @EllaMinty who is Co-Chair of the Energy Leadership Platform @CIPR_UK, @ILM_UK Fellow, and Crisis and Reputation Management Consultant.

Conor McGrath, Lecturer in PR and Lobbying at Ulster University hosted the tweetchat which was an overwhelming success.

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A simple tip for having a peep at the Tweetchat is to log into http://tchat.io and enter the tweetchat hashtag! Give it a go! Lurk and learn. 🙋‍♀️

If you want to find out more, check out some of the best Twitter moments from the Tweetchat, click on this link: https://twitter.com/i/moments/1179497828281962496?s=13

What is a Tweetchat?

A tweetchat simply affords Twitter users the opportunity to engage in conversation with each other. A community of like minded people gather around a particular subject or keyword using a hashtag at an agreed time and date. It is a bit like watching the subtitles in silence on a fast paced TV debate although you will find there is plenty of noise!

I have taken part in many tweetchats over the years. I founded my own and co-hosted others such as #ebnjc for the Evidence Based Nursing British Medical Journal! I was also invited to speak about tweetchats at the NHS Confederation Conference in 2015. Tweetchats could potentially bring you on on amazing journey with your #PR Tribe. Typically, the tweetchat general topic(s) or specific questions will be shared by the founder and host(s) of the tweetchat in advance either on a blog or using images such as the one used below in #PowerandInfluence last week.

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Merits of #PR Tweetchats

Tweetchats are so much fun. You can connect with #PR people from academia and professional practice who are based all around the world. These PR tweeps share their ideas and expertise freely! This is important if you are a new #PRStudent seeking to understand Public Relations. It is also relevant for those tweeps with more PR knowledge and experience who wish to thrash out and debate the nitty gritty of #PR.

However, on a more serious note, a PR tweetchat also provides a #PRStudent with “real time information” as to what #PR academics and professionals are saying about a particular topic and many networking opportunities!

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#IrishMed Tweetchat NodeXL Social Media Graph shared with kind permission of Dr Liam Farrell

What is a hashtag?

In the healthcare world, Symplur have advised that if you want to understand what the conversations are all about for any topic, what is trending, how it is changing over time and learn how the healthcare stakeholders differ and what they have in common you can drill down to the individual tweets using the hashtag.

This is equally applicable to the world of #PublicRelations on Twitter.

Some of the hashtags used both on Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram for finding, curating and publishing Public Relations content are:

 

#PublicRelations

#PR

#PRStudent

#WIPRNI (Women in PR Northern Ireland)

#WomeninPR (Women in PR)

I am looking forward to connecting with you on Twitter!

Nóirín O’Neill is an MSc Student in Communication & Public Relations at Ulster University. She can be found on Twitter @Noirin0Neill and on LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/n%C3%B3ir%C3%ADn-o-neill-426b91110/