#AssamRiots: Why Twitter Crisis Control Is So Hard

 

The average Indian wouldn’t find it hard to conclude that the Indian TV media is engaged in covering up news of the Assam riots.

In fact, even though only Indian print and online media is effectively providing real-time information, Assam CM and Congress leader Tarun Gogoi has still found grounds to slam the media for the coverage of the ongoing violence between Bangladeshi immigrants and Bodos tribals.

However, as the recent outrage on Twitter over a TV media’s lack of coverage over #Assamriots has proved, Twitter crisis control is hard. It’s tough – almost impossible – for the following reasons on a platform where anyone can say anything to anyone.

1.  The buzz is in your face

Newspapers prioritize news into the amount of coverage, and then the pages it is shown on. Effective PR can prevent a crisis from splashed across the front-page, and only get a a toned-down mention on page five.

On the other hand, the moment you login to Twitter, there’s a simple box that tells you what’s trending. Twitter is telling you what people are talking about so you can talk about it more – the whole point of Twitter is conversation. Any buzz creates even more buzz.

 

Rajdeep Sardesai's viral tweet

2.  Everyone gets a voice

Twitter has it’s own thought-leaders and influencers, and are at this position for their firm, unrelenting stance on a particular position.

When they speak, people listen.

When they tweet, people retweet.

Once a molten-hot majority opinion has hardened, attempts to undermine it is dealt with sarcastic finger-pointing by the Tweeters who agree, as can be seen in this now-viral exchange between Rajdeep Sardesai and another Tweeter on the lack of coverage of the Assam riots.

 

This takes me to the next point:

3.  Anger speaks Loudest on Twitter

Indian tweeters are more familiar with Rahul Gandhi bashing than pro-Rahul Gandhi arguments, because the former are fuelled by public anger. Just like in real life, there will always be more conversation about that which upsets, hurts and angers people.

There is often no appeasement; there’s simply no escaping the hordes of people who will shred any subtly veiled communication.

 

Tweeple can be an angry bunch.

4.  Unlike other mediums, Twitter advertising is too obvious

Just like you wouldn’t place a giant banner screaming (PAID! PAID!) next to a editorial subtly promoting your client, placing an ad on Twitter(Promoted Tweets) is a blatant attempt to buy people’s respect – it’s marked in a different font on ‘Trending’ bar.

 

And, from what we learned from all this, Tweeple are more than just people.

 

 

Written by Kunal Anand for Image Management.

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