Links I Liked: Apple, Crisis Comms and Smartphones Everywhere

It’s been too long since I posted one of these: here are articles, blog posts and links that have recently caught my attention. I hope you’ll find them useful.

On Tuesday, Apple will announce the latest iPhone – a good opportunity for communications professionals to read about how Apple is controlling the narrative. Obviously, humanitarian organizations will never be able to function like Apple (after all, we don’t “release” highly anticipated disasters that everyone wants to know about), but this is still a very interesting article. While it made me realize that I would have hated working for Steve Jobs, I appreciate many things about Apple’s PR process, such as the conscious and consistent use of language in all communication products.

  • How Not to Do Crisis Communication 

Patrice Cloutier wrote two insightful articles on the demonstrations and the police response in Fergusson, Missouri. Patrice is a crisis communications expert and you can almost hear him banging his head against a wall as he watched events unfold and the disastrous way communications was handled.
Read part 1 and part 2.

In this article the Guardian looks at how Islamic State is using social media to fight the propaganda war. What I find interesting about the text is not so much the question how to to “win”, but that the article shows how important social media is for groups like these. For me, this means that not monitoring social media in conflict environments is approaching gross negligence on the part of humanitarian organizations. It’s not enough any more to collect press clippings to help build a picture of operational security – you need to get local staff to actively monitor social media!

  • Mobile phone ad in Myanmar. Photo: Wanya Vota

    Photo: Wanya Vota on Flickr

    Accept the Smartphone Reality – Everyone Else has

There are a million good reasons for programming technical solutions for the lowest common technology. I abhor projects that are ignorant of the technological limitations in the target countries of many response operations. But there is another side to that, too: the risk that we fail to see technological possibilities, because we are convinced that certain tools are beyond the reach of the local population. Take smartphones. ICTWorks recently published two interesting articles on the topic: “Myanmar Will Be the First Smartphone Only Country” and “Accept the Smartphone Reality in Development. Everyone Else Has“.

What articles have you recently read that you would like to share? Let me know in the comments!