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The Crisis Intelligence Blog

An Excellent Example of Twitter Use in Atlanta School Shooting

06 Feb

atlanta-public-schools-logoLast Thursday, January 31st 2013, there was another shooting outside a middle school in Atlanta. A 14 year-old student was grazed by a bullet, and thankfully the wounds suffered were not life-threatening. Within minutes of the shooting, the shooter was disarmed and taken into custody. You can learn more about the shooting here.

What truly impressed me about this crisis was the way Atlanta Public Schools leveraged Twitter to keep parents and the public informed. From their twitter handle, @apsupdate, Atlanta Public Schools:

  • Consistently updated the public in real-time
  • Tweeted details of how the school was reaching and keeping parents informed
  • Answered incoming inquiries on Twitter
  • Updated the public in both English and Spanish, accommodating both of their audiences
  • Linked to more detailed information
  • During the press conference, they tweeted out tweet-able statements made by the leading officer
  • Were open to criticism and vowed to learn from their mistakes – which they proved over the next few days
  • Continued tweeting and updating their audience well after the crisis was over

However, from what I gathered, there was one main (and very large) concern from parents of Price Middle School: They felt that they were not receiving prompt updates. This leads me to believe that, although the school was utilizing social media very well to communicate with the public, the parents of the students inside the school were unaware.

An important thing to remember for your crisis communications plan

There is no sense in having a crisis communications plan if no one is aware of what it entails. That said, you must make sure that all stakeholders are aware of your crisis communications plan before a crisis occurs, and that everyone is up-to-speed on how, when and where to receive these communications and updates in a crisis.

Tweets tweeted out by Atlanta Public School during last week’s crisis

Take a minute to read the below tweets. There are some very valuable tweets and lessons that should be incorporated into your own crisis communications plan:

They also kept people updated in Spanish:

They were open to criticism and advice:

The tweets continued to go on in this informative fashion until well after the crisis was resolved and all students were safely in their homes.

There are a number of excellent lessons to take away from Atlanta Middle School’s excellent Twitter communications during this unfortunate school shooting. I hope that you were able to take value from this example and incorporate these points of communication within your own company’s crisis management plan.

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One Response to “An Excellent Example of Twitter Use in Atlanta School Shooting”

  1. Xavier February 11, 2013 at 4:32 am #

    Perfect example of what should be done in crisis time !

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