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Are we overconfident? – Part 2

In Are We Overconfident? – Part 1, we applied the theory of risk homeostasis to business continuity and public safety. Risk homeostasis is the idea that as we put in place measures to mitigate risk, we tend to take more risks in other areas, thereby negating any gains in risk reduction. We debunked the first common assumption that an emergency notification system is all we need: It’s a great start, but over-reliance on technology alone without factoring in people, processes, and messaging can lead to critical gaps in crisis response that can put organizations in jeopardy.

Now let’s delve into our second common assumption: Assumption #2. “We can reach everyone using social media.” Crisis communication expert Dr. Robert Chandler brings up a valid point in his video response to the question, “Is Twitter better than nothing for emergency notification?” According to Dr. Chandler, using a medium like Twitter to broadcast information in an emergency may give us a false impression of having communicated with our audiences. Yes, we can push out the information to a potentially vast online audience. But are people listening? Is the message received by the people in harm’s way? Are we reaching everyone who needs to know? And if we broadcast the information only via Twitter and make no other attempts to communicate, does our confidence in having communicated do a disservice to all those affected who do not actively monitor tweets? According to an Edison Research study on Twitter usage, only 7% of Americans actively use Twitter. So what happens to the other 93%? If a tree falls in the forest, but no one is there to hear it…. In our next post, we’ll discuss Assumption #3: “Our data is fine.”

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