Protect Your Identity

So if Boston hasn’t give you enough to think about for your next emergency, I’m going to add something else to your plate; sorry.

So, to paraphrase what I’ve been told about the Chinese character for crisis: it contains two symbols, one for danger and one for opportunity. Namely, your dangerous situation is potentially someone else’s opportunity. Think back to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. You remember the video feed, the top kill and “I’d like my life back.” You know what else was really big back then? @BPGlobalPR.

You remember that Twitter account, right? It was quite the big deal back then, especially among the PR and crisis communications communities. The guy behind that account spawned a cottage industry of joke Twitter accounts. Luckily (and no small thanks to BP), PR folks have convinced most companies to ignore these joke accounts. But that’s not the biggest worry they should have.

What if, instead of jokes at your expense, someone was trying to actively undermine your response? Trying to discredit not only your work, but the entire reason for your response? And instead of doing it on a centrally controlled social network, they did it on a website? It’s happened, and it’ll happen again.

In Boston, though, this week, it didn’t happen. You knew something crazy was gonna happen when some non-media person asked a question about the attack being planned as a ruse.

And then this happened:

I went back to my desk and quickly bought the domain for BostonMarathonConspiracy dot com and and posted a simple message saying that I purchased it only to make sure the kooks don’t get it.

Absent some helpful stranger on the other side of the country taking matters into their own hands, are you ready to prevent some “Truther” from hijacking your response? Are you ready to protect your identity?

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