Pinterest

Follow Me on Pinterest

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

When to counter false allegations and dispel rumours.

OK ... it's been a while ...busy in the new job ... working on communications related to the security around next year's G8 summit in Huntsville, Ontario.

Which brings me to today's topic ... when is it relevant to engage in online activities to counter false allegations or help dispel rumours?

Should it be automatic? or are there other channels you can use? ... Is a combination of both approaches the best choice?

In the huge project I'm currently associated with (in my secondment to the Ontario Provincial Police) ... we face the situation where we need to spend a lot of efforts countering false rumours about the nature and extent of security measures for the 2010 G8 summit.

Some of these rumours are absolutely outlandish and grounded in nothing more than a very broad extrapolation of a TV show like 24. Those can be dealt with more easily than the rumours based on reality ... but that are just the products of wrong interpretations.

To counter these myths and rumours ... we're taking a dual approach: a web presence (which is so far limited to a website ... but don't despair, we're trying to bring it into the 21st century with a broad social media strategy attached to it ... more on that in the coming weeks) and some effective ground work done by our community relations folks.

Frankly, i would not discount the fantastic work done by the people on the ground ... whether they're meeting with 400 people ... or just 25 ... their local presence has helped establish our whole organization's credibility ... better than any electronic medium ever could ...

now ... what our web and social media strategy must do ... is support them with the right products and messaging ... the right channels for the right conversations to occur ... no matter where they're hosting or happen to take place ... in a way, we must re-create the town hall meetings that have been successful for us ... on the web/social media ...

it's that sense of conversation and personal engagement that we need to foster ... we (the communications team) face some corporate challenges in our ability to do that ... but we're making headway ...

As I keep saying ... our messages must not appear to come down from the mountain ... etched in stone ... yes, we have valuable and relevant info to communicate ... but we have to do it in a spirit of participation in a broad conversation with our many audiences ...

the fact is that we deal with sophisticated people ... who for the most part can anticipate some of the measures that security forces will put in place and that may impact their daily lives over the week of the G8 summit ... we have to respect that intelligence and engage them with relevant, up-to-date info ... from a broad array of channels ...

you can see how we've started to do this (modestly ...) at our website www.g8isu.ca

I welcome your comments and suggestions on how we can inform residents, visitors and other stakeholders ...