Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Wildland Fire Approach to Social Media

I'd been working on this analogy of how fighting social media problems can sometimes be like fighting fires in the forests, and that sometimes you find yourself surrounded by flames. Sometimes, you have to set a rescue fire to keep from being consumed by the larger conflagration. To the old school spinners, allowing out details that set a fire -- a huge dose of truth at the right moment -- seems wrong.

I picked back up on this in Mark Drapeau's piece where he noted that in his Four Tenets of Modern Communication that "information spreads within communities like wildfire, on and off line. It has never been more important to acknowledge and try to help communities. If you're not bringing your community of stakeholders up with you as you rise, you will fall and you're gone."


My thoughts were more tactical, looking at how both wildfire and rumor share certain similar attributes.

Single spark or lightning sets it off, also sometimes done by arson. It grows often unnoticed in the wilderness. We send resources out to control it, or to put it out in urban areas.

The pros can try to attack it, but once it gets to a certain size, they can't stop it.

We think we can prevent it. Sometimes, we do controlled burns to limit the future scope. In the end, the ability to fight it is an illusion, and the forest fire will simply run its course.

Food for thought.

1 comment:

Chris Syme said...

I like the idea of a controlled burn.