Often you hear people talk about putting out fires with social media. They’re talking about how to address customer complaints or a scandal that is blowing up. But in Colorado Springs using social media and fires in the same sentence has a different meaning this week.
In case you missed it, we have a forest fire raging just west of town with a few thousand people evacuated, zero containment, record high temps over the weekend that are expected to continue all week, and no rain or end in sight. (If you are interested in following the Twitter conversation about the fire check out the hashtag #WaldoCanyonFire.)
And while we can’t fight this fire with social media, I have seen the community embrace social and use it in spectacular ways. Everything from helping spread the word about evacuations, to meeting the needs of those who have been displaced. The media stations, the local government, local businesses — everyone is using social to stay on top of the situation. Sure, there are a few bugs to work out along the way, but I’ve been so impressed with the way the Colorado Springs community has come together around Twitter to stay up to date and to offer and receive assistance.
And while I have no experience operating a chainsaw or putting our fires, the Rocky Mountain Media Group has taken up their keyboards and we are doing what we can to connect people in need with those looking to help. The online community, just like the real life community, is about everyone doing their part.
When you are thinking about social media for your business or non-profit make sure you include a plan about how you will use it in a crisis to help your community. How can you help in putting out fires with social media?
You might not see us on the blog or Facebook page as much this week, and a lot of our Twitter stream may be centered around the #WaldoCanyonFire hashtag. We’ll try to keep some social media and branding related content coming your way, but we wanted to let you know what was going on in just in case you were wondering.