Communicating in a Crisis: Think Before You Retweet

While everyone should always be careful before posting anything on social media, extra care is paramount during mass casualty or other major emergencies. Too frequently, civilians and officials alike mistakenly rush to publish so that they are “first.” Speed is important, but accuracy is even more important. So is staying within your area of responsibility.

“It is not your place to share details about another jurisdiction’s incident on social media without express permission to do so by that agency – but it is your job to talk to your community about how you can be there for them if they feel (or are) impacted by events that took place elsewhere,” says Mountain View Police Department social media and public relations coordinator Katie Nelson.

As the news of a shooter at the Gilroy Garlic Festival in Santa Clara county spread, she reminded her Twitter followers: “Be responsible in sharing information with others. At least double-confirm any updates before sharing on social media.”

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Retweet image by donaldrigo / Adobe Stock.