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September 16, 2008

Social media works even when your office's power goes out

I just finished chatting with a friend who works for an international association in the Midwest. Their office's power has been out for two days due to the storms that ripped through over the weekend, and it's not expected to come back on for another five. Their email server is down and (I presume) web-integrated back-office systems aren't running, because their website is 404. Their phones are down. He said it's like they were transported to the 19th century.

Meanwhile, they have three major meetings going on simultaneously in town.

They've been communicating using social media. Why? Their social media sites are located on servers in California, where there's still power, apparently.

Their staff is working from home and from Starbucks. They've been taking registrations for five conferences coming up in October by fax. Their principal means of communications is GTalk and GMail that they fortunately set up for many of their staff a few months ago for project management reasons.

So sometimes Twitter goes down, and sometimes your office goes down. Always have a backup plan (which just might include a social media flavor).

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3 comments:

Lisa Junker said...

After Hurricane Isabel, my old association in Fairfax, VA, got power back within a day, but lost our phones for two days and our fileserver and coffeemaker for a week. Guess which of those things got people the most bent out of shape!

I do have to say, though, that situations like that give staff an opportunity to pull together and get creative. Not that you want to abandon disaster planning in favor of "we'll get creative," but when unexpected issues arose, it was a great experience to work with my teammates to seek solutions .

Ben Martin, CAE said...

My home was without power for 12 days after Isabel. We ultimately moved out of the house to my in-laws, but we came up with some pretty inventive ways to figure out if our power was back on from afar. The best method was to call the house to see if the answering machine would pick up the call.

Caron Mason, CAE said...

I need to share this with some senior managers. I like the twitter as a not only an enhancement to, but a backup plan for communicating during a conference.

Great post Ben!

Lisa, I remember the storm and the coffee machine. But the Diet Coke still flowed--so our department was covered.