This morning I had the opportunity to discuss the integration of social media into the NTSB’s overall communications strategy at the 2014 International Crisis & Risk Communication Conference at University of Central Florida.
Today it is not uncommon see news breaking via social media. In fact, the first photo of last summer’s Asiana 214 crash appeared on Twitter within 30 seconds of the airplane coming to rest. That was a full 90 seconds before the aircraft’s emergency slides were deployed. And within minutes, passengers were posting photos of the on-going evacuation of the aircraft.
In my remarks, I emphasized that social media provides organizations an opportunity to quickly and effectively respond with accurate information, and define what is fact versus speculation, but you must CARE:
- Credibility is everything
- Accountability and transparency
- React quickly and effectively
- Execute your plan
When a crisis occurs, you probably won’t be the first to report it, and you can’t control the images or information that are shared. But if you CARE, you can use social media to direct attention to accurate information and therefore shape the narrative.
Long before social media came on the scene, strong newswomen like Cokie Roberts, Andrea Mitchell, and Barbara Walters were breaking into the news business. There were built-in barriers, but through their character, courage and commitment, these women shattered the barriers and set the stage for future generations of women in media.
I’m proud that one of those women, the architect of our CARE strategy, is NTSB Public Affairs Director Kelly Nantel. Since joining the agency in 2011, Kelly has emphasized character in stressing factual, transparent informational releases; courage in pushing the agency to explore social media; and commitment in coordinating the on-scene public affairs activities for eight accident investigations and countless Board meetings and special events. As a result, Kelly and her team have raised the agency’s profile. We’re speaking for the traveling public with a stronger voice now, to more broadly convey critical transportation safety messages.
In transportation safety, character, courage and commitment don’t just apply to those who investigate accidents, research safety innovations, or develop policies. They also apply to those who convey the message.