In Communication, Organizational Communication - Assignment on February 29, 2012 at 1:25 pm

It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity.  ~Albert Einstein

Its the 21st century and what you know, the world is consume with so much technology its so hard to keep up. Information speed at a such a high speed that its almost hard to stay in the new. I am constanly bumborded with information and i am so afraid of overload. We use technology to get rid or condense time and to connect easily, quickly and constantly.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately that the amount of highly useful information is exploding–but the useful information is buried in the detritus of that explosion. This has significant implications for almost every aspect of life–from shopping, to conversing with friends, to studying up on your next assignment. Since I work in PR where there is no shortage of crisis and emergency response, I’m looking at the implications.

The implications for response management is that more and more decisions about how to respond to an event are going to be based on the plethora of information available from information sources outside the response–the observers using their mobile computer capability along with all the information capturing sensors that are taking over our world–like webcams and building status sensors.

But this challenge hits crisis communicators hard in a couple of ways. Since part of the job of crisis communications is external monitoring, it right now typically falls on the communicators to do the media, social media and community monitoring. The purpose of this was to gauge communication, capture rumors and misinformation and generally use this info to improve the communication. But now we are seeing that the information gathered through this monitoring may be of extreme importance to the response managers. So suddenly communicators have a very important new role and one that brings them or should bring them much closer to the response management decisions. They may have the best intelligence available, and that intelligence is needed to make informed response decisions.

The other reason this hits communicators hard is that the information coming from the outside world is extremely dynamic. As we saw in the gulf spill as in all major events, the issues come and go like the stuffed animals in the “whack-a-mole” game. Smash one down and another pops up. While the dynamic nature of “mini-crisis of the moment” has been around for a long time, now it is more dynamic and potentially more of a crisis than ever. An issue can pop up in your trend tracker and become huge as you sit and watch the word cloud grow. You don’t know if it will transition into the broader blog world or the mainstream media world and become the “breaking news” story of the evening cable shows, or whether it will disappear into the ether like most of these instant issues. So it means that the monitoring never ends and neither does the necessity to be extremely nimble and responsive.

I fully expect that solutions will begin to emerge that will allow all the data coming in from outside a response to be strained, manipulated, algorithmed, and trend-tested to death. There will be major efforts launched to try to assimilate all this mountain of realtime information and turn it into actionable intelligence.

Given the stakes in crisis and emergency management, I suspect there will be a role for humans to evaluate this mountain of information. So, in the meantime, there is plenty of work for crisis communicators to do in helping decisionmakers make sense out of all the bull crap!.


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