8 communications guidelines for a crisis

The explosions at the Boston Marathon on Monday remind people who handle communications to keep the following things in mind.

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Moments after the blasts, tweets began flying and while television news was trying to make heads or tails of what happened showing scenes of the mop up effort, Twitter accounts were streaming photos and eyewitness accounts. Even in the office where I work in Colorado, CNN was on in the background, but everyone was on Twitter getting the latest updates.

The Boston Globe took down its traditional front page and was simply running a live blog of updates, including its Twitter feed. While the steady stream of news was spellbinding, it did come with a bit of news judgment, knowing that everything was coming through without a filter.

Of course, with the instant news fix, there are pitfalls and wild speculations. Particularly disheartening were the reports of fake Twitter accounts being created to solicit donations, as reported by ESPN’s Darren Rovell:

Twitter has suspended the fake Boston Marathon account @_bostonmarathon, claiming it would donate $1 to victims for RT’s

— darren rovell (@darrenrovell) April 15, 2013

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