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Deconstructing A Crisis: After An Accident, 1 Tweet Could Ruin a Contractor’s Reputation

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deconstructing a crisis after an accident 1 tweet could ruin a contractors reputation

Minutes after the partial collapse of the Hard Rock Hotel in New Orleans last month, videos of the devastating accident flooded the internet. Using just their smartphones, bystanders captured the destruction and chaos that left three workers dead and 30 people injured. Videos and images from the horrific accident spread quickly on social media, from Facebook and Twitter to Instagram and Snapchat.

Partly because of the shocking footage, the incident quickly became national news, where the videos were replayed on news programs repeatedly throughout the days and weeks afterward.

The fast pace of social media has changed how construction companies need to respond to a crisis, said Anthony Huey, president of Columbus, Ohio-based consulting firm Reputation Management. It makes quickly communicating with the news media more important than ever to make sure the correct information gets out.

In fast-changing situations, platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram sometimes breed misleading and wrong information that often goes viral, said Huey, who has been helping U.S. contractors sharpen their crisis communications skills since 2004.

In fact, most problems Huey has seen in the dozens of crises he’s been involved with relate to misinformation that spread in the first minutes and hours after an accident. He tells clients to make an initial statement within the first 45 minutes to help “set the record straight.”

Here is one example of a video that was tweeted by a bystander that quickly was picked up by the local news station:

“If it takes several hours for you to get back to the media or update your employees, in that vacuum of silence people are speculating and misinformation is leaking out,” he said.

Perfect storm of events

An example of this, Huey said, ​is the day the newly opened Florida International University pedestrian bridge collapsed in 2018. Heavy equipment had to be moved out of the way to make room for emergency vehicles. As the operator of a construction crane moved the piece of equipment off-site, a bystander took a photo and posted it on social media.

The image was picked up by the Miami Herald with the headline “Crane operator flees scene.” Readers quickly jumped on social media to speculate that the driver might have had something to do with the accident, which was later proven to be false. The report also appeared in other local media outlets and as far away as the New York Post and the Daily Mail, a U.K.-based publication.

Huey said the case is an example of how incorrect information can quickly go viral and said the contractor and crane operator should have quashed the report when it first appeared. But no one from either company called the Miami Herald or took to social media to refute the story, he said. “To this day, it’s still out there for anyone to see.”


“Now [news] lives forever on Google.”

Anthony Huey

Ohio-based communications consultant


Via photos and videos, social media can also record small problems and amplify them into big ones, Huey said. “In the past, if someone made a blunder on a jobsite and the TV news didn’t pick it up, it would not make it into the public’s awareness, but now it lives forever on Google,” he said.

Patricia Kagerer, executive vice president of risk management at Jordan Foster Construction in Dallas, agrees, saying that construction firms of all sizes must have a process to monitor online comments.

“Old school thinking was to ignore it,” she said, “but today that is no longer the case.”

It ‘won’t happen to us’

The power of social media to amplify or distort bad news is just one reason why firms need to have a crisis communications plan in place, said Huey. However, a majority of construction companies don’t have one and prefer to think a major catastrophe “won’t happen to us.”

He looks at social media as a double-edged sword, one with the power to spread misinformation but also to create an opportunity for general contractors and subs to communicate to a large number of people very quickly.

Platforms like Facebook and Twitter offer potential benefits for promoting positive company news but they can also be drivers of bad news, making accidents seem worse than they are. Not having a plan for how to handle negative information on social media can impact future business, according to Kagerer, who helps to oversee the emergency response plan at Jordan Foster Construction. ​

“If you don’t have a plan as to how to handle the fact that somebody’s out there saying that your company kills people or if you’re not even aware of it, it could cost you a potential job in the future,” she said. “I can assure you that your owners are aware of it.”​

Communication best practices

Bethesda, Maryland-based Clark Construction has a comprehensive emergency action plan in place, according to Sara Guthrie, vice president of communications. She said while she hopes they never have to use it, the plan includes a communication protocol and process for responding to media inquiries. Spokespersons are determined on a case-by-case basis depending on the location and type of event, she said.

“When there is an unexpected event, it’s important to make sure that there is a clear plan for notifying and coordinating with everyone involved — company leadership, the client, local authorities and the media,” she said. “This includes clearly assigning responsibility for notifying and coordinating with each of those entities.”

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The FIU bridge collapse in March 2018 spawned incorrect reports on social media.

Because Clark’s first priority is always the safety and security of employees, trade partners and the public, Guthrie said, company leaders want to make sure they are taking proper steps to communicate necessary information to those parties.

“When it comes to media relations, it’s important that everyone involved understands the process for fielding and coordinating approved responses to inquiries so that they can respond in a timely manner with accurate information,” she said.

The challenge for a large firm like Clark, which employs 4,200 people and has offices in eight states, is that employees are spread over many jobsites, which takes extra work to make sure everyone understands communication protocols.

“We reinforce the plan regularly with our senior leadership and ensure that our project management guidebook is updated with the latest approach,” she said.

The company also developed a short video that is posted on its intranet to explain the process for responding to the media and established a media hotline to ensure employees can quickly notify a member of the communication team regarding a media inquiry.​

Other ways that construction firms can be ready to respond to social media reports during a crisis include some of the following imperatives:

  • Prepare a website in advance that can go live when needed and keep news of the incident separate from the company’s main website.
  • Keep reporters in the loop, Huey said, even with just minimal news in the early hours of an incident. “If reporters can’t get information from you, they will look elsewhere,” he said. “They’re not going to stop reporting on something just because you have no information for them, so give them some facts to use in their reporting.”
  • Use “buy time” statements that contain basic information and that let the media know that company representatives are working on getting answers to their questions, said Carla Thompson, senior marketing consultant for Zweig Group, an AEC consulting group, during a recent webinar sponsored by Engineering News-Record.
  • Designate an employee to monitor the media for disinformation and quickly correct anything that’s false, whether in print, broadcast or social media. “The problem with social media is that what used to be just another channel for the dissemination of information like a TV station or newspaper or radio now has the potential to become a crisis in and of itself if it’s mismanaged,” Huey said. “Once it goes viral it’s almost impossible to manage.”
  • Provide media training for employees, who are often the first line of information in a crisis. “If they complain about taking time out for training, ask them how they will feel with 20 to 50 microphones in their face,” said Thompson.
  • Make sure subcontractors and other partners are on the same page. Guthrie said Clark requires subcontractors to obtain company approval before releasing any information, statements or images to the media or on social media.
  • ​Consider all the types of risks to a contractor’s reputation. In her 20 years in construction risk management, Kagerer told Construction Dive, she typically sees construction firms only planning for two types of incidents: weather events and employee accidents. She urges companies to undertake a hazard vulnerability assessment to look at all aspects of risk, including issues like cybersecurity, worker strikes and construction defects. “What are any of the things that could harm a company’s reputation?” she said.​
  • Realize that negative social media posts or comments don’t always warrant a response. Kagerer recalled a disgruntled former employee of a contractor she worked with who posted many negative comments about the company’s projects and leadership. The company was aware of the posts and its social media manager and legal and risk departments worked together to come up with a plan of action but decided not to respond because it would have resulted in a online battle with a potentially dangerous individual, she said. Instead they continued to monitor the remarks for a period of time until they stopped. “Instead of responding directly, the social media manager posted other stories on the company’s feed that showed the company’s positive culture, benefits, community outreach and happy employees,” she said.

Costs vs. rewards

While developing a crisis communications plan can be expensive and time consuming, the extra costs and time are well worth it, experts say.

​”Remember,” Thompson said. “When stuff starts hitting the fan, that advance planning will help you navigate and survive. Hopefully it will work out like you hope your home or car insurance does, where you’ll never need it.”

Another webinar participant, Magnusson Klemencic Associates Senior Principal Jon Magnusson, an engineer who worked on the World Trade Center during the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and helped to respond to media inquiries, said he’s even seen companies emerge stronger after a crisis.

“Many clients judge a company more keenly based on how they behave when things go wrong,” he said.

For those of you looking for more information on how to prepare for and manage a social media crisis, check out our article called, 5 Tips for Managing a Social Media Crisis”.

Socialmediatoday.com

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X Faces Restrictions in India and Pakistan Amid Government Orders for Content Removals

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New Report Finds That X May Be Inflating its Ad Performance Results

X is facing new challenges in both India and neighboring Pakistan, with the Indian Government calling on X to censor specified accounts to counter unrest, and Pakistani officials seemingly blocking access to X altogether, amid accusations of vote rigging in its recent election.

Firstly, in India. As confirmed by X, the Indian Government has issued a new order for X to ban users that it has identified as prompting civil disobedience.

As per X:

“The Indian government has issued executive orders requiring X to act on specific accounts and posts, subject to potential penalties including significant fines and imprisonment. In compliance with the orders, we will withhold these accounts and posts in India alone; however, we disagree with these actions and maintain that freedom of expression should extend to these posts.”

X says that even though it is moving to fulfill these orders, it will also continue to challenge the Indian Government’s bans through whatever legal means it has available.

It’s not the first time that the Indian Government has demanded specific censorship from the platform, with both X and previous Twitter management being called upon to remove certain comments and users who’ve gone against official rulings.

Last year, X was forced to remove a BBC documentary that was critical of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi after it was banned in the nation, which many used as an example to highlight X’s inability to uphold its own free speech approach.  

Twitter, meanwhile, was served with a non-compliance notice in 2021 for refusing to action similar account takedown demands from the Indian Government. In that instance, which directly related to civil unrest, India threatened to shut down Twitter entirely in response, while it also suggested that the company’s Indian staff could face up to seven years jail time for failing to comply.

As such, Twitter was effectively forced to action India’s requests, in order to protect its staff (note: The Indian Government has denied that any such threats occurred).

Both incidents serve as reminders of how authoritarian regimes will look to control mass communication platforms, like Twitter and X, in order to manage messaging, and combat noncompliance.

Pakistan, too, has a long history of seeking to control social platforms, though more notably due to “inappropriate content”, as opposed to what users are saying. Pakistan, which is a Muslim country, has banned various apps, at different times, in response to concerns about content, though in this latest instance, it does seem to be taking a leaf out of India’s book in using bans to quell civil unrest.

X will now have to find a way to maintain an adequate balance between adhering to such requests, while upholding its own “free speech” ethos, though X owner Elon Musk has been clear from the start that his free speech push will not go beyond the bounds of local laws in each region.

So while Twitter has challenged India’s requests in the past, and X has vowed to seek further legal clarification around the same, it will be aligning with the Indian government’s requests, and removing users and content in line with their requirements.

Does that mean that X isn’t willing to stand its ground on its much lauded open speech approach?

No, not when the alternative is to see X banned entirely, which would eliminate all speech for the impacted individuals, and reduce all protests against government action.

And no matter what your opinion of X may be, it is still a highly influential platform, in many ways, which is why officials are still looking to control the discussion in the app.

Though the bigger for question for Elon specifically is how such actions could impact his other businesses.

Tesla is still working to get into the emerging Indian market, which could become a huge sales opportunity for the company. Tesla’s been working with the Indian Government to enact new concessions on import duties, in order to bring its vehicles to market, and it’d be interesting to know whether Indian officials have used such as a lever to pressure action at X.

Based on what we know, it does seem like X would have little choice either way, but it’s another consideration in this instance, which could cause some uncomfortable internal discussions around the same.



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How I Landed Job Interviews Without Experience

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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Wilfrid Laurier chapter.

As a university student, entering the workplace can be a difficult transition for more than one reason. For starters, simply finding a job to get experience on your resume and begin your career can be one of the most difficult parts. Most jobs want you to have experience, but you can’t get experience without experience in the first place! In previous years, I was unsuccessful in landing summer internships in hopes to kickstart my career. This year, I decided to do my research and do everything possible to land interviews because I knew once I got to that point, I could sell myself into the position. Here are my tips on how to at least get to the interview portion of the stressful job search process.

Finding Jobs

First off, you need to be able to find jobs in your field. As a communication studies student, I was searching for public relations, marketing and social media focused jobs. I used a few search engines in order to find them. I began on Indeed, making my job search varied by using “Summer 2024 student internship” as a starter, and going more specific into marketing, social media and public relations after. Indeed was helpful, however, it seemed very limited. I then went to Google with the same searches. This led to a few more job search websites that gave me a few more job postings. My final place to search was LinkedIn. Prior to this year, I wasn’t using the platform for my job search. Getting a 30-day free trial of LinkedIn Premium helped tremendously, as they give more specific job postings based on your profile as well as tips and tricks to updating your profile to match with those hiring. One thing to remember if you’re looking for a summer job is to start looking early. I applied from January through February, searching for new postings almost daily. I also kept a spreadsheet in Notion to keep track of jobs I’d applied to, the status of if I’d heard back and links to the company websites for future reference once an interview was in place. Keeping this organized will allow you to not only know which jobs you apply to, but how long it’s been and whether you’ve heard back or not.

Resume and Cover Letter

Your resume and cover letter are extremely important because with many applicants, hiring managers may only glance or skim through both. You want your resume to look clean upon first sight, nothing too flashy or dramatic and preferably on a single page. Highlight your education, job experience and skills and abilities without writing too much or too little. I found that once I summarized my roles to two or three points each, I became more successful in landing interviews. If you have stellar grades, adding your transcript to applications is always something to consider, as even if you have little to no experience, your dedication to school may assist you in this. As someone with only retail experience wishing to enter a whole new field, making sure my roles reflected leadership skills, collaboration and possibly marketing skills was important. Any extracurriculars that may highlight the field you wish to enter and apply to is also a key feature to reflect in a resume. As for a cover letter, there are so many templates online as to how to make your cover letter look clean and professional by adding the company’s address, hiring manager’s name and your signature at the bottom. If you’re someone with no experience, talk about personal projects. I ran a TikTok account for years where I discussed books and collaborated with publishing companies and I found that when I had put that information in my cover letter, more companies reached out to me for interviews. The way you shape your interests and extracurriculars is a make it or break for a cover letter.

Keep On Trying

Landing an interview is a long process sometimes. It can become disheartening seeing friends around you land interviews and jobs in their fields as you continuously apply. I’d nearly given up a few weeks in, with no emails or updates on jobs I applied to. But I kept trying, getting feedback on my cover letters, resume and profiles throughout the process and ended up receiving interviews for multiple companies within the same week. The job market is a combination of experience, how you shape yourself through a resume and connections you may have. Don’t be too hard on yourself if it’s taken longer than you wished to land an interview. With a few hours a week dedicated to the search and writing of cover letters, you’ll have interview requests in no time.

Whether you’ve just graduated, are currently in school or just want to kickstart your career, job searching can be a scary thing. With dedication and constant feedback, you’ll become more and more sure of yourself and ability to get the jobs you want. Good luck on the job search and remember all good things come with time.

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LinkedIn Shares New Insights into How Public Group Posts are Distributed

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LinkedIn Shares New Insights into How Public Group Posts are Distributed

Could LinkedIn groups be making a comeback?

I mean, probably not. Long gone are the Halcyon days of robust LinkedIn groups, most of which have since been overrun by spammers and scammers looking to get attention at all costs, which has rendered most groups, and group notifications, as spam themselves.

But maybe, there is a way for LinkedIn to get at least some groups back on track.

Maybe.

Today, LinkedIn has published a new overview of the work that it’s put into building public groups, which is an option that LinkedIn’s still in the process of rolling out to all users.

Public groups, as the name suggests, are wholly viewable by members and non-members, as opposed to having to join a group to see what’s happening within it. Up till a year ago, LinkedIn users could only create “listed” or “unlisted” groups, with listed communities showing up in relevant searches, and unlisted ones hidden from non-member view. So you could find a listed group, but you’d still have to join it to get a view of the discussions happening within. But with public groups, they’re both listed and the content is viewable.

Which, according to LinkedIn, has been a positive:

Over the last few years, the Groups product has evolved significantly across feed, notifications, creators, group discovery, content moderation, and other domains of organizer tooling. In continuation of these improvements, we launched public groups to help non-group members see valuable conversations happening in groups, and to help group organizers and creators foster more engagement and a stronger community. This has led to a 35% increase in daily group contributors and a more than 10% incremental increase in joins in these groups.

Which makes sense. Enabling users to view what’s happening within groups, especially highly active, well-moderated ones, is going to attract more members. But it is also interesting to consider whether there might be value in switching your group to public, and making it more of a focus.

Within the new technical overview, LinkedIn explains that public group posts are eligible to be distributed in member timelines, as well as their expanded networks.

“For posts created inside public group, we set the distribution to MAIN_FEED to allow for distribution on the home feed to group members, first degree connections of the author, and first degree connections of any members who react/comment/repost on the post. This helps increase distribution of public group posts.”

That could facilitate good distribution for public feed posts, and could help to increase engagement within your LinkedIn group.

As you can see in this example, another strong lure is that only group members can comment on a public group post. Anyone can react to a public group update, but you have to actually join the community, which you can do via the CTA, to participate in the discussion.

In combination, this could be a powerful way to maximize group engagement, and depending on where that fits into your strategy, it could put more emphasis on LinkedIn groups as a means to broaden connection and community.

Though, as noted, many soured on LinkedIn groups long ago, once the spammers settled in. Back in 2018, LinkedIn actually tried to initiate a groups refresh, with new regulations around spam, and limits on notifications about groups activity, to discourage misuse.

That, seemingly, didn’t have a huge impact, but as LinkedIn notes, it has continued to update its group rules and processes, in order to make it a more compelling product.

Could it be worthy of consideration once again?

There are definitely things to like here, and for those who already have active LinkedIn groups, making the switch to “Public” could have some benefit.

I do think that LinkedIn groups require strong moderation to maximize their value, and establishing a core focus statement for your group, and what it’s for, is also essential to help to guide your direction.

But maybe, they’re worth a look once again.

Maybe.

You can read more about LinkedIn’s latest public groups updates here.

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