In crisis communications, one important matrix that we always watch is the online reaction to the incident. Social media's immediacy provides crisis managers with real-time feedback on public sentiments towards the organization and the organization's efforts to deal with the crisis. Unfortunately, while social media is uncensored and hence provides the raw public emotions, social media's anonymity also allows trolls and stakeholders with agendas to manipulate the situation. Thus, while we use social media as a measurement of effectiveness, getting an accurate assessment of public sentiments will require users to categorize and weight comments according to the site or Facebook pages they are found on.
In Singapore, fans of sites like TR Emeritus (TRE), The Independent Singapore (TISG) and All Singapore Stuff (ASS) are known to be anti-establishment and hence their comments are generally biased towards negativity. Similarly, fans of sites like Fabrications About the PAP, Lovely Singapore and Singapore Matters are known to be pro-establishment and their comments are also biased. It is also well known that these sites are populated with numerous fake accounts and this not only skews sentiments, but also the perceived intensity of the sentiments.
It is therefore important that any social media monitoring matrix take these factors into consideration and adjust for it. At CW Fong & Associates, we use the following matrix to provide an accurate assessment of sentiments during a crisis. Our matrix comprising sites that are anti-establishment, neutral and pro-establishment with an adjustment factor of -50% for biased sites. In addition to those that we have mentioned above, the neutral sites we monitor are shown below:
The Independent Singapore
All Singapore Stuff
Fabrications about the PAP
Not everything on social media is real. Organizations who monitor social media for sentiments cannot treat all online reactions the same. To do so, will result in a flawed assessment, which will then lead to a flawed crisis management response.