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Crisis on Campus: Steering the Social Media Conversation

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When a crisis strikes your campus, how you respond in the realm of social media or your lack of response can dramatically alter the way you manage your communications during the event. Hear two campus …

When a crisis strikes your campus, how you respond in the realm of social media or your lack of response can dramatically alter the way you manage your communications during the event. Hear two campus communications pros one from each district discuss how best to use social media to lead conversation in a crisis situation. Brian Huonker, Assistant Director, University Marketing at Illinois State University, will discuss how his campus leveraged social media to steer the online conversation following the death of two students. Andrew Careaga, director of communications at Missouri University of Science and Technology, will talk about how Missouri S&T used social media when a gunman drove onto campus in May 2011.


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  • According to a recent survey by the Red Cross, people now expect to receive emergency information on social media sites. The Internet is now the third most popular way of getting news during an emergency, after television and local radio, the survey found. 18% of both the general public and Internet users said they rely on FacebookIn addition, over 30% of people said they expected help to arrive in less than an hour if they posted a call for help on a social media site
  • In addition to the armed robbery, the Crisis Communication team has been notified forA shooting on the edge of campusSuspected armed robbery where the suspect was caught on video and then later the same suspect was discover entering a residence hallIn cases of monitoring:The death of two students within 35 minutes of each other. Upon investigation, one was due to natural causes and the other due to a suicide.A report of to the police where a suspect was reporting putting on a bullet proof vest and carry a heavy bag into a building. Turned out it was gym equipment and a weight jacket.
  • Transcript

    • 1. SOCIAL MEDIA AND B r i a n H u o n k e r, Assistant D i r e c t o r, U n i v e r s i t yCRISIS COMMUNICATION Marketing, Illinois State University Andrew Careaga, Director of Communications, Mis souri University of CASE DISTRICT V & VI JOINT CONFERENCE Science and DECEMBER 11 , 2012 | CHICAGO, ILLINOIS Te c h n o l o g y
    • 2. SOCIAL MEDIA AND CRISIS COMMUNICATION According to a recent survey by the Red Cross, people now expect to receive emergency information on social media sites. 30% of survey takers expect help to arrive in less than an hour if they posted a call for help on a social media site
    • 3. SOCIAL MEDIA TURNS Accuracy and speed EVERYONE INTO A become an issue REPORTER
    • 4. CASE STUDY: SUICIDE JUMPER October 30, 2011 5:43 p.m. A tweet announced ―some idiot was climbing‖ the scaf folding an the side of Watterson Towers. 5:45 p.m. a 911 call was received about a person climbing the east-side of the 28- story Watterson Towers. 5:53, Twitter users were reporting that the ―student jumped of the towers‖.
    • 5. CASE STUDY: SUICIDE JUMPER Fact: The ―jumper‖ did not jump, but slipped and fell off the scaffolding Fact: It was a person from outside the Bloomington/Normal community (age 45), not a student. It was 6:45 p.m. before the University posted the facts about the incident. For the next 24 hours, contradictory stories were being posted and shared via twitter and Facebook , inciting phone calls from parents to the University with false information obtain from Facebook and Twitter.
    • 6. CASE STUDY: FIRE 9:45 p.m. An employee in the Bone Student Center reported smoking coming from a room in the Bone Student Center 9:47 p.m. A tweet announce ―the Bone was on fire!‖ 9:48 p.m. A Twitpic showed smoke coming out of the roof of the Bone Student Center 9:49 p.m. Fire Department arrived to find a crown of students outside the Bone Student Center, join the group of students and employees who were on scene. 9:52 p.m. Video of the scene appeared on YouTube
    • 7. CASE STUDY: FIRE Fact: The fire was contained to the ductwork leading from the a restaurant to the roof. There was only moderate water and light smoke damage, mostly in the restaurant area. The source of the fire was the grill or the exhaust hood.
    • 8. EVERYONE IS A REPORTER In the last five years social media have played an increasing role in emergencies and disasters.  Social media sites rank as the fourth most popular source to access emergency information. Uses have included:  conduct emergency communications  issue warnings  receive victim requests for assistance  monitoring user activities to establish situational awareness  uploaded images  And others
    • 9. SOCIAL MEDIA IN CRISIS Social media put to the test at COMMUNICATION Missouri S&T
    • 10. MAY 12, 2011
    • 11. GUNMAN ENTERS M C NUTT HALL
    • 12. COMMUNICATION PROCESS: IMMEDIATE (THE FIRST 11 MINUTES) 8:45 a.m. – Phone call from S&T PD 8:48 a.m. – Second call from S&T PD 8:51 a.m. – Mass notification alert sent: McNutt Hall on lockdown 8:53 a.m.-8:55 a.m. – Similar alerts posted on social media (Twitter and Facebook) 8:56 a.m. – Main website (www.mst.edu) redirected to emergency site (alert.mst.edu)
    • 13. TWITTER AS NEWS FEED
    • 14. FACEBOOK AND FEEDBACK
    • 15. COMMUNICATION PROCESS: ONGOING Status updates on main website, social media Respond to media calls whenever possible Monitor social media Online becomes predominant source of information for media, public Updates posted to emergency update phone line (first one @ 9:15 a.m.)
    • 16. ALERT.MST.EDU(FORMERLY ICE.MST.EDU)
    • 17. ICE.MST.EDUON MAY 12, 2011
    • 18. MEDIA COVERAGEhttp://storify.com/weatherbird/how-a-university-covered-its-own-lockdown
    • 19. KSDK.COM VIDEO:HTTP://BCOVE.ME/YZQOLC4Q
    • 20. FACEBOOK FEEDBACK
    • 21. SOCIAL MEDIA SELF-POLICING
    • 22. THE SOCIAL MEDIA TRIAGESOURCE: ALTIMETER GROUP, BASED ON U.S. AIR FORCE’S RULES OF ENGAGEMENT FOR BLOGGING
    • 23. WEB TRAFFIC SPIKED 129,455 visits May 12, 2011Social mediasignificant 4,171 referralsbut still a From socialvery small mediadriver of total May 12, 2011web traffic
    • 24. FACEBOOK VS. TWITTERMost effective for… Facebook TwitterImmediacy X XReach XWebsite referrals XEngagement/discussion XReaching students XReaching parents XReaching news media X
    • 25. FOLLOW-UP Improve departmental communications flow Set up centralized areas for call center and computer center Ensure main phone lines can roll over to other lines Ensure other staff have access to my email Change ice.mst.edu to alert.mst.edu Host alert.mst.edu offsite to ensure it works during a crisis
    • 26. LESSONS LEARNED Testing, testing, testing Monitor social media chatter Debrief after every crisis Equip your people
    • 27. EQUIPPING THE CAMPUS COMMUNIT Y
    • 28. THE CRISISMANAGEMENT TEAM
    • 29. AND EVOLUTION OF BEST PRACTICES identify target audiences for the applications, such as civilians, nongovernmental organizations, volunteers, and participating governments; determine appropriate types of information for dissemination; disseminate information the public is interested in (e.g. what phase the incident is in, etc.) identify any negative consequences arising from the application—such as the potential spread of faulty information—and work to eliminate or reduce such consequences.
    • 30. THE CRISIS COMMUNICATION TEAM
    • 31. HOW IT WORKS Police depar tments notified of emergency  From civilians, from local government, from monitoring of social media Director of Media Relations is notified Crisis communication is activated  Initial text messages goes out to campus  Message is repeated in social media (Facebook and Twitter)  Crisis Communication Team convenes on in a single location  Emergency level decision is made  Emergency messages placed in social media and text updates  Emergency messages placed in iGuide, social media and text updates  University website is replaced with emergency version, messages placed in iGuide, social media and text updates  Team is in constant contact with media relations representative on the scene, always in direct communication. Updates are written and coordinated between all medium  Social media is monitored for additional information, commentary and questions. Questionable post are reported to the media relations rep on scene.
    • 32. CASE STUDY: ARMED ROBBERY 8:25 p.m. A report to University police of armed robbery on campus. 8:26 p.m. Text message was sent to campus and reported on Facebook and Twitter. Crisis Communication team activated 8:46 p.m. Members report to meeting pace. Determined only text messaging, social media and the iGuide would be used to communicate to audience.
    • 33. CASE STUDY Shooting on the borders of campus.  Text messaging, social media, and University website was utilized to communicate Second armed robbery on campus  Text messaging, social media, and University website was utilized to communicate  Website was utilized due to the fact suspect was spotted entering a residence hall The death of two students within 35 minutes of each other.  Deaths occurred at between 2—3 a.m. It was determined that social media would be utilized to monitor for continued conversation
    • 34. CONTACTBRIAN HUONKER A N D R E W C A R E AG AI L L I N O I S S TAT E U N I V E R S I T Y MISSOURI UNIVERSIT Y OF SCIENCE ANDNORMAL, ILLINOIS T E C H N O LO GY RO L L A , M I S S O U R I B K H O U N K @ IL L I N O I S S TAT E .E D U @BKHOUNKER  AC A R E AG A @ M S T. E DU FAC E B OO K . C OM / B K H U ON K E R  @ A N D R E WCA RE AG A L I N K E D I N . C OM / B K H U ON K E R  FAC E B OO K . C OM / A N D RE WC A R E AG A  L I N K E D I N . C OM / A N D RE WC A R E AG A