There was a tragic train derailment not too far from where I live today. In fact, the accident happened a block from where my in-laws live In Burlington, Ontario. Three crew members died, dozens of passengers were trapped in the wreckage and many injured, some seriously.
Some early notes:
- it doesn't take very long to be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of info
- need to concentrate on the main #
- find someone else to gather/curate info conveyed on Twitter: pictures, videos and media reports
- what's the criteria for re-tweeting information ? How do you deal with message pollution?
- which official sources carry more weight?
- People will react from all around the world from a seemingly very local event ... so your response must be tailored to audiences directly impacted and those who observe from afar ... they both play a role in how your response will be perceived by the public. See how even SMEM guru Brian Humphrey got interested, all the way from California:
- There is an absolute necessity to coordinate emergency information provided by different agencies and authorities ... at some point, we had diverging information (#of casulties) from the Mayor of Burlington, Halton Regional Police, Burlington Fire Department and others ... could have been confusing
- The people behind the @via_rail twitter account did a very good job under difficult circumstances ... they provided "operational info" on a timely basis.
- Where the lapse occurred was perhaps in coordinating the work done by the social media team with the webmaster and the media relations people. It took some three hours for the website to show anything related to the incident and about the same time for a news release to be issued ... things need to work in tandem to be truly effective from a crisis communications perspective as noted below: