So you want to be a #SocialFirefighter®?
Perhaps you’re already a crisis communicator looking for ways to manage social media crisis; perhaps you’re a student looking for a challenging career away from the press release production line; or perhaps you’re a military information operations specialist seeking new ways to reverse engineer social media for influence activities.
When I guest lecture at universities, one of the most common questions I’m asked by students doing a single semester on crisis communications in a three- or four-year degree is, ‘Where do I learn these skills?’
It’s a fair question. They recognise that a semester spent with your head in a textbook isn’t going to equip you with real-life experiences from which your judgement, strategic and critical thinking skills are developed.
My answer is always the same: You can read about crisis communications in books and blogs; you can watch videos and listen to podcasts — these are all great sources of information, and building your theoretical knowledge in this area is very worthwhile. But at some point, you’re going to have to put skin in the game and dive into a role that gives you the opportunity to be mentored by someone experienced in dealing with organisational crises.
I have been fortunate to have been mentored by a range of experienced leaders who were exceptionally good at managing organisational crises and communications simultaneously.
I have also ...