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Twitter, Photos and Your Crisis Communications

01 Apr

Twitter has recently revealed two new features coming to the platform. On March 26th they published the following message to their blog:

“We’re rolling out two new mobile features that make photos on Twitter more social. One is photo tagging, which lets you tag the people in your photo; the other is the ability to include up to four photos in a Tweet.”

Sounds cool right?

But what does it mean for your crisis communications and overall risk?

Let’s take a look…

Twitter photo-tagging

We will now be able to tag up to 10 people in the photos that we share on Twitter. These 10 tags will not come out of our limited 140 characters. So, what does this mean for your organization in terms or risk and crisis communications opportunities?

The risk: A picture is worth a thousand words and at the speed at which a Tweet travels the web, a negative picture can cause a lot of damage to your organization – fast! Now imagine that damaging photo tagged directly to your organization. This can potentially have more of a lasting impact than @mentioning does, since tagging doesn’t take up any of Twitter’s allotted 140 characters and remains associated to the picture as it begins to go viral.

The fix: Monitor Twitter and set your privacy settings to best suit your organization.


The crisis communications opportunity: This can be beneficial for your crisis communications if you’re collaborating with third parties. Visuals are a great way to communicate, both in and out of a crisis, so if you’re using images within your crisis communications and have third parties to tag, make sure your team is aware of this new feature.

Twitter photo streams

You can now share up to 4 photos in a single tweet. What are the risks and crisis communications opportunities that can come with this new, cool feature?

The risk: We’ve just highlighted the damaging impact that a negative photo can have on Twitter. Now imagine that damaging tweet containing not one but four photos – possibly tagged to your organization! The risk involved with this is simply 4 times greater than it already was. If one picture is worth a thousand words, how much of a story can be told with four?

The fix: The most you can do here is monitor the Twitter-sphere in real-time, assess this risk involved with this new feature and arm your team with a plan of action in case it ever materializes.

The crisis communications opportunity: Why send 4 tweets with each their own picture when you can send one tweet with 4 images and have even more of an impact. If you’re using photos to help communicate to your audiences in a crisis, now you have the opportunity to share more at once.

By the way…

“Both photo-tagging and Tweets with multiple photos will display in Embedded Tweets.” – Twitter

So watch out and be ready!

4 Responses to “Twitter, Photos and Your Crisis Communications”

  1. Lauren Barham April 2, 2014 at 11:51 am #

    Hi Melissa, thanks for sharing this post. You are right about the risks you have mentioned with these new Twitter features. It does make it easier for companies to be associated with negative communications, I guess the alternative is that it is then just as easy for a business to be associated with something positive! Although I do feel this aspect means there are even more similarities between the social media sites of Facebook and Twitter, making Twitter slightly less unique. However, all in all I think these changes make posting photos and images on the social media site Twitter even more accessible which means more user engagement, which is a good thing! Kind regards, Lauren

    • Melissa Agnes April 18, 2014 at 12:31 pm #

      Hi Lauren,

      I agree that, for the most part, these new features are pretty awesome for user-engagement. Though I take it as my "duty" to analyze the risk for my readers.

      Thanks for weighing in,

  2. christinesyme April 5, 2014 at 7:11 am #

    Kind of bummed that the photo option is only available on IOS devices, not Android and not desktop. It's limiting for people who do not have iOS devices.

    • Melissa Agnes April 18, 2014 at 12:29 pm #

      That's pretty surprising. I'm sure it will roll out for Android soon.

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