Officials Turn to Twitter for Crisis Management after LAX Shooting

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    Incident demonstrates why Twitter is ideal for quickly spreading information to your stakeholders

    When your organization is in crisis, Twitter is now the go-to platform for disseminating information to a wide audience as rapidly as possible. Never was this more apparent than in the wake of the chaotic shooting at LAX airport, where a steady stream of posts went out from the official LAX and LAPD Twitter accounts.

    Here’s a sampling of tweets that went out early on in the crisis, compiled by PRDaily’s Matt Wilson:

    Crisis communicators took to Twitter after at least three people, including a TSA agent, were shot in Los Angeles International Airport’s Terminal 3 on Friday morning. Local news reported that the suspect was in custody.

    The official LAX account confirmed that in a tweet sent around 10:50 a.m. local time:

    Suspect is now in custody. Multiple victims. Press conference at 11:30 am at Sepulveda Blvd/Century Blvd w/ Airport Police & LAPD Chiefs

    — LAX Airport (@LAX_Official) November 1, 2013

    The managers of the airport’s account focused primarily on tweeting information about air traffic and keeping travelers away from the area where the shooting occurred. The first tweet about the shooting went out just after 9:30 a.m.:

    There is an incident underway at LAX. Law enforcement is on scene. More information to follow.

    — LAX Airport (@LAX_Official) November 1, 2013

    By about 10:15, the airport announced a ground stop was in effect and that traffic headed toward the departures area was being blocked by police.

    Other than arriving flights, flight operations have been temporarily held.

    — LAX Airport (@LAX_Official) November 1, 2013

    The airport’s account also tweeted this alert to the news media:

    As soon as law enforcement allows, broadcast equipped vans will be allowed to park between terminals 1 and 2 upper/departures level

    — LAX Airport (@LAX_Official) November 1, 2013

    The Los Angeles Police Department tweeted that the FBI was on hand to help with the incident, a notice that the central bureau was on tactical alert, and a photo of officers on the scene:

    #LAPD on scene of major incident at #LAX. #poltwt http://t.co/EUkN5Wtzze pic.twitter.com/9mAguPtcll

    — LAPD Communications (@911LAPD) November 1, 2013

    There was also this warning to people headed to the airport:

    The #LAPD & @CHPsouthern is requesting that the area around @LAX_Official Airport be avoided so resources can be deployed. #LAX #poltwt #CHP

    — LAPD Communications (@911LAPD) November 1, 2013

    LAX didn’t stop using social media for crisis management after the immediate crisis was abated either. Updates regarding delays or closures, and information to help passengers reach their gates quickly or find luggage left behind in the chaos were constantly pushed out for over 24 hours after the shooter was in custody.

    Unfortunately, this situation led to a loss of life, and our hearts go out to those affected. We must give kudos to LAX and LAPD, however, for their efforts in not only protecting, but informing the public, no small task when faced with the stress and confusion that accompany any sudden crisis.

    The BCM Blogging Team
    http://www.bernsteincrisismanagement.com