Thursday, February 14, 2008

Crisis Management in a Web 2.0 World

In my career I have helped manage public relations activities in support of two controversial programs – the Department of Defense’s Standard Procurement System (SPS) contract and the Navy Marine Corp. Intranet (NMCI).

Both programs involved a dramatic technology shift for a large and distributed user base who was relatively pleased with the status quo. As you might suspect, the adoption of a new technology platform on SPS and NMCI created quite an intense user backlash, through no fault of either contractor.

We had to deal with users contacting trade journalists with criticisms and complaints. The resulting articles and op-ed pieces were damaging and created morale issues for both the customers and the contractors.

In time, the programs achieved benchmarks and the user base eventually accepted change. We even got our fair share of positive trade media coverage.

My experiences on SPS and NMCI came rushing back this morning after reading Informationweek’s article about the laid-off Yahoo employees who took to their blogs. In our SPS and NMCI efforts we actually had it easy as our task was to manage relationships with a handful of trade journalists.

Because Web 2.0 empowers and provides tools to publish, managing a crisis situation today is more challenging than ever. The posts from the fired Yahoo staffers will live online, impacting Yahoo’s ability to recruit and retain.

Fired Yahoos Take to Blogs

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