I’ve seen more and more suggestions in the past while about using social media site building tools (such as WordPress, the one I am using here) to build crisis websites. Here’s a new post suggesting using Facebook for that purpose.
Since we more or less pioneered the concept 7 years ago of using highly interactive webtools for crisis communication, I very much welcome the realization of what is needed to be prepared to communicate. And, on a pretty simple level WordPress, Facebook and other website building and managing tools can work pretty darn well. But, for most, not nearly well enough. There is a lot to managing the communication during a major event. It involves a high level of coordination and collaboration, it involves internal review and approvals, it involves not just a website (pull communications) but pushing information out to multiple pre-staged stakeholders groups in multiple modes including telephone and SMS messaging. And it involves a high degree of interactivity. One thing really cool about these sites is they are built on interactivity through the comment function. But using this function during a crisis exposes those coming to the crisis site for information also to the full vitriol, politicized and agenda-driven comments of many of those who come to the site. Either that, or an obvious editing process which undermines the credibility.
By all means, some kinds of companies or organizations with crisis exposure ought to look at these as a low cost partial solution. But for those who are serious, are who operate in larger, more complex organizations, the danger is greater than the reward.