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.
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
How do you handle misinformation when a social media crisis strikes?
That’s the increasingly important question that @katehartley & I debate in the latest Digital Download #podcast https://t.co/Ju4YZkXZoh
🎙️Listen now on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Android & everywhere else🎙️ pic.twitter.com/6wLh230saQ
— Paul Sutton (@ThePaulSutton) October 2, 2019
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!
- 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/