1Social media crisis communications:a seismic shift in the risk profile

I was a child of the digital revolution. By the time I started my undergraduate degree in 1998, the bleeps and pings that were dial-up internet had already started to change the way people communicated.

Email had to be checked ‘at least a few times a week’; web pages were a revelation of slow-loading information; and the move to digital photography was an incredible disruption to how we had traditionally captured moments in time.

By the time I was working as a surveillance operative just a few years later, the legal minefield of the digital revolution saw governments racing to update their legislation in an effort to keep up with digital consumerism (and hedonism) as digital devices were used for an ever wider range of legal and, of course, illicit purposes.

The other race being run in the digital revolution was the race to break news. With the print news media’s first forays into online news, photojournalists became pseudo-reporters and websites became adjunct news services.

I often refer to the early noughties as a time when the global population developed their information-crack addiction. We just couldn’t get enough. Technology-possessed people were like disciples waiting for the Second Coming. Our new temple was the internet and within it we were chasing the digital messiah like junkies chasing the dragon.

From the first digital testament and revelations of Alta Vista and Netscape then Yahoo, Google ...

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