With the change in technology and development of user-generated content on social media, the pace of information between organisation and media has also changed. How do you manage crisis in this age of social media?  

  • Social media breaks news
  • Guidelines for crisis management
  • Preparation is key for organisations

Tomorrow’s Medicine brings you highlights from the Singapore Healthcare Management Congress 2015.


Currently there are 2.08 billion social media accounts worldwide – a very big number keeping in mind that just not too long ago “social media” is not a term that has been coined yet.


On average, people are spending 7.1 hours per day on the internet, proving how central the internet is currently to the everyday life.


Mr Rick Clements, Director of Rick Clements & Associates and former head of public affairs department of Singapore Airlines, said, “Social media isn’t new anymore. It is the new normal.”


More and more, social media plays the role of breaking news while traditional media cover it. Particularly in healthcare,”In breaking bad news,” Mr Clements said, “The patient is the media.”


But the principles of crisis communications when social media is the norm still follow traditional principles.


Mr Clements shared the guidelines for crisis response:

  1. Trust in the plan that you developed in “peace time”
  2. Respond quickly and ensure everything you say is accurate
  3. Maintain a regular flow of information, especially on social media
  4. Be accessible to all audiences by establishing communication channels for media and other stakeholders to obtain more information
  5. Be honest and candid, don’t try to play down the seriousness of the situation and admit to uncertainty
  6. Keep messages clear and consistent – make sure different stakeholders and communications platforms say the same thing
  7. Be empathic by showing care and concern for those most affected

 A lot of preparation needs to be done before an issue rises and transforms into an actual crisis. Mr Clements warned, “An issue may not be obviously apparent.


You can look at social media and the internet for warnings of potential issues, but you need to look inside the organisation.”