University Web Developers

University Web Developers

I work at the Vermont Law School as its web communications manager. We got hit very hard a few weeks ago by Tropical Storm Irene.  We are a small, rural school and we did not have much of an emergency/crisis communications policy in place. After Irene, there's been a push to get a Crisis Communications plan.
Does anyone have any experience in constructing a crisis communications plan using Twitter, Facebook etc.?
We need a Crisis Communications Plan that specifies how we'll use Facebook, Twitter, and texting in the first 24-48 hours of a crisis. We need to specify who will initiate the messages in each channel, who's the backup, how we'll maintain the list of recipients, and what will happen in the event of loss of phone, web, cell channels.
If anyone has any ideas or experience in this area, please advise.
 

Views: 683

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

We are in the process of final updates on our plan and getting it vetted by the "powers that be," but it does include our FB, Twitter and text messaging plans and policies. I'll try to get the draft and send you what we have later this week.

 

I can say it has been successful for us, except on those occasions we DON'T close for a snow day - we get ripped on FB every time in those cases. :-)

Great! Reviewing what is already being done will be very helpful for us.  We get lots of snowstorms, and we usually post closings on the website  home page - although we've never really had an emergency during the storm season.

I imagine using FB will get us some similar ripping!

Followup ... Have you been able to get something together? I'm pushing to get a plan documented here as well.
We've gathered up a preliminary set of emergency preparedness documents. A number of departments are involved so it is taking some time to filter through the departments. I will look for the latest version and try to post it by tomorrow.
Fantastic!
Looks like we have many people in the same boat. I would also be very grateful to hear what others are doing for their crisis comm. planning. Will any of you be posting your approved documents? (Hint, Hint)  :)

There are inherent challenges when using social media to get out the word with respect to emergency situations.  Only a relative handful of people associated with your institution who need to get the word will get the word through social media.

One school (I'm forgetting which) had discussed via Facebook that a decision would be made by  x AM, and then didn't follow-up after x AM as to what decision was made about open v. closed.  They had a meltdown on their hands. Your use of Social Media can establish expectations, so you should be sure to think about it in advance.  You should probably push out more non-event news via the SM channels.  E.g., when you're open, say so.  Also, if you have groups for the school in general, parents, department of basketweaving, to which do you push out messaging?  We've got scores of facebook pages and groups...

Your emergency communication plan needs to document stuff, be implementable by a primary person and at least two backups, and needs to be multifaceted.  All the Web stuff is "pull".  You should be sure to have some "push" out there, whether it's through RA's and RD's knocking on doors, or emergency text messages or phone calls, or emails to the college community, or voice announcements in campus buildings.

You need to handle incidents that come under the Cleary Act, as well as weather-related issues.

It would be helpful to have sample communication messages that you can issue in the event of an emergency, so you don't have to craft every one from scratch.

Sorry to go off.  I have been involved with emergency planning on my campus (down to the level of customizing the collegewide emergency plan) so I have done a lot of thinking in this area.

 

 

Steve,

Wow. Thanks so much. This is really helpful and insightful. We are still new to Emergency Crisis plans and evaluating the importance of social media in our plans. Initially after tropical storm Irene, we got a lot of lak over not having a Facebook "plan" in place, but after delving into - we started thinking a more "hands-on" plan would be more useful during an actual crisis.

That's a great idea to have sample messages created beforehand.

 

Any other advice? Thanks so much

We are thankful that we moved our website offsite to a third party host earlier this fall.  Our campus is still without regular power,  5 days after Storm Alfred hit the northeast (we are using generators and opened back up yesterday).  Also, be sure you have backup staff who reside in different areas - I am the primary person to post closings, etc. to the web but had no power, no Internet, no cellphone for several days - so I couldn't even stay in touch with administrators who were making decisions.  Another staff member who lives in an area less affected by the storm was able to make updates to the site.  And keep in mind that although you may be communicating via lots of different channels - TV, radio, text message, etc., there will still be people who are unable to receive those messages (I couldn't).

Kathie,

Our site is also hosted by a third-party (Rackspace). While we have multiple communication channels, the primary source of information during a crisis will be the website. If there was an incident that brought national attention, it's likely that our site would get hit hard with traffic and could crash. For that reason we are considering various back up solutions, such as a second server, or redundancy configuration. Do you have anything like that?

Thank you.

Just came across this thread today.

We recently (June 15, 2012) had an incident on the University of Alberta campus. Full details can be found through a Google News search: http://bit.ly/NfOtWC

Summary: An armored car robbery in a campus building. 3 people we killed and 1 critically injured. All 4 were employees of the armored car company.

According to our plan, the process for an incident of this nature involves:

  1. Police and Campus Security notified
  2. Crisis Management Centre activated
  3. AVP of University Relations is in charge of crisis communications

At this point, a designated person (in this case, me) would get a call from the AVP and we activate the communications plan via the web and social media. From here, communications via web and social media are taken over by our crisis communications team.

All updates come from the AVP or designate in charge of communications for the event. In any event, once this chain of command has been established, the person making the updates via web or SM does not accept updates from anyone else.

All of our messaging in this event was one way: we gave out info only. There was very little response to any of the feedback that was generated via the SM channels. Our goal is simply to push out the official information from the U of A.

Our plan document contains all the info regarding callouts, backups, etc.

For anyone that is interested, our emergency site still contains the info that was pushed out on the website during the incident: http://www.ualberta.ca/EMERGENCY/

Tim,

thank you for sharing your experience.

Was your site hit hard with traffic? And, if so, was it able to stay up?

Our crisis communication plan is similar to yours, but it is dependent upon the web site staying up. We are considering moving to a cloud-based server configuration, so the bandwidth could automatically increase if needed to accommodate an sudden influx of traffic.

RSS

Elsewhere

Latest Activity

Cody Bryant is now a member of University Web Developers
20 hours ago
Linda Faciana commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"Join us for our next webcast with Rachael Frank from Gravity Switch to learn how to organize your content and messaging for a website redesign. http://bit.ly/2zhdcIt"
Thursday
Sara Arnold commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"Capitalize on content by creating an editorial calendar for your college or university website. Here’s how: http://bit.ly/2WCauaY"
May 9
Sara Arnold commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"A soft launch of your website redesign is well worth the extra time. Find out why. http://bit.ly/2LfeigX"
May 2
Linda Faciana posted a blog post

Webcast - Website Redesign | The importance of using content inventories

Join us for our next webcast with Laura Lehman from Eastern Mennonite University to learn how to effectively use Google Sheets during a website redesign and migration! http://bit.ly/2zhdcItSee More
May 1
Sara Arnold commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"What are characteristics of the best CMS for colleges and universities? Read our guide to find out: http://bit.ly/2Vt519j"
Apr 24
Linda Faciana commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"Join us for our next webcast with Caroline Roberts from iFactory who will be providing tips on how to improve your SEO by finding and wisely using the keywords and phrases that matter most! http://bit.ly/2zhdcIt"
Apr 18
Sara Arnold commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"If your college website is not reaching your audience, but still meets most technical and accessibility requirements, there are a number of ways to fine-tune its performance. http://bit.ly/2KO08U8"
Apr 18
Sara Arnold commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"Before you click the launch button on your newly redesigned website, it pays to doublecheck the details: http://bit.ly/2D9v5vr"
Apr 11
Laurie Trow replied to Jessie Groll's discussion Thoughts on "part-time work from home" for a web developer?
"I do work from home a few days a week. Depending where you're located, this would definitely be a perk. I've found plenty of higher ed jobs, but it's not often where working from home is an option. I find this odd since the higher ed…"
Apr 4
Sara Arnold commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"Take a look at these award-winning higher ed digital marketing campaigns to see what’s working for them – and what you can implement to make your school’s digital marketing campaign one of the best. http://bit.ly/2JlzLiq"
Apr 3
Sara Arnold commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"Do you have a plan in place to ensure your redesigned website is a success? Read our new white paper for the steps needed to successfully launch your website so that it is effective, informative, and gets noticed. http://bit.ly/2HZt73Z"
Mar 29
Sara Arnold commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"The better you pay attention to these small SEO details, the higher your website will rank in searches. http://bit.ly/2I6Yo1C"
Mar 28
Linda Faciana commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"Join us for our next webcast with Brian Johnson from Tacoma Community College for tips on how to effectively communicate the website redesign process and move to a new CMS. Win over those key players and get your project started on the right…"
Mar 27
Linda Faciana commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"Join us for our next webcast with Angela Cavaliere from Montgomery County Community College who will discuss how to successfully navigate a website redesign in higher ed. Learn how to get buy-in from stakeholders, organize your team, and…"
Mar 20
Linda Faciana joined Lynn Zawie's group
Thumbnail

OmniUpdate

Share your experiences using OmniUpdate CMS
Mar 20
Rachel Mele commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"We asked several OUTC19 presenters how the information they plan to share will help you do your job quicker and more effectively. Here’s what they had to say: "
Mar 15
Rachel Mele commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"Overbooked calendars make it hard to catch scheduled webcasts, so we put together a list of top webcasts that you can watch anytime: "
Mar 12
Rachel Mele commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"Understanding these recruitment trends can help you better shape your marketing campaigns for the new year: "
Mar 8
Rachel Mele commented on Lynn Zawie's group OmniUpdate
"Want a pain-free website launch? Join us for our next webcast with Phil Pelanne from NewCity who will share good ideas, bad ideas, and tales from the trenches, plus his nearly 100-item QA and launch checklist! "
Mar 6

UWEBD has been in existence for more than 10 years and is the very best email discussion list on the Internet, in any industry, on any topic

About

© 2019   Created by Mark Greenfield.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service