Home > BLOG 4, Crisis Communication > Blog 4: Medium is not the message.

Blog 4: Medium is not the message.

When a devastating 7.2 earthquake hit on Turkey, social media got a lot of attention from media. Media reported that Twitter and Facebook used as good tools to organizing help and volunteers. Not only that, in two teenagers, who were trapped under the rubble tweeted and people found them thanks to twitter’s location feature indicating where the users wrote the tweets.

Yes, social media have changed how do people communicate everyday in their daily lives, and even in crisis communication, they changed lots of things. Due to the emerging of social media in crisis communication, crisis alert blogs are fading (as I mentioned in my first blog) and now people get the crisis information very rapidly and constantly with pictures and live video. Twitter and Facebook make very easy to spread emergency information, recruit volunteers, and getting donations from people all around the world.

Social media have lots of potential, and I admit that. Still, however, social media are social media. It is a new kind of ‘media’ but not problem solvers. Clicking like button on Facebook, or mentioning tweets about crises cannot substitute the very complicated and difficult process of actual rescue process. During the September 11 terrorist attack, thousands of fire fighters and police officers were dead to save lives. They didn’t write tweets to save lives, but risked their lives.

The reason that media focused on social media during the crisis like earthquake is that it is newsworthy topic. But that doesn’t mean that social media are the most important thing in the actual crisis communication or recuse process. We should very careful to consume media to decorate and exaggerated the power of social media. Most of time, they do not reflect the reality. Media don’t care the actual importance of real issues in the world except a few news organizations in the earth.

I may sounds like old and very conservative jerk, but actually I am a big fan of twitter. It has great potential to make world better place, but it cannot change the world into completely different place. Medium is just medium, but not the message.

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  1. November 3, 2011 at 8:50 am

    You say that social media is a new form of media but “not problem solvers.” So, you don’t think social media can solve problems? Then what can it do or what is it for?

    Also, you state that “Clicking like button on Facebook, or mentioning tweets about crises cannot substitute the very complicated and difficult process of actual rescue process.” That may be correct, but does social media have to be a substitute for disaster search and rescue to be valuable or helpful? If social media doesn’t actually rescue people then is any claims about its utility in disasters overblown? That seems to be a pretty high standard.

    Finally, if you are going to reference your first blog post, THEN LINK TO IT. Links are key components of a good blog post.

    • November 3, 2011 at 11:20 am

      Yeap, maybe that’s pretty high standard. I will think about it again, and I will link my first blog post to this post. That’s my bad. I just felt that media are just falling love with social media that whenever people use social media in the new fields such as crisis, dating, politics, they just love to report those. I think, that maybe create a distorted perceptions of social media to people that social media are ‘the’ only problem solvers of crisis situation.

      I believe that social media are very very useful tools for dealing with crisis. There’s no doubt about that. I should be more focus on the technical aspects than media aspects.

      Last but not least. I am really sorry for not reading and preparing your class and even coming late. I really respect you as a great professor, but I disappointed you, and whole class disappointed you. I promise It won’t happen again. That’s my apology.

      Summary for better readability

      1. I agree with you that I have pretty high standard.

      2. I will focus more on technical aspects than media aspects.

      3. I apology for not preparing the class.

      4. Have a great weekend.

  1. November 7, 2011 at 3:19 pm

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