Facebook and our recent tsunami alert

For the past 18 hours we have been under a "tsunami warning" as a result of the catastrophic earthquake in Japan. A tsunami warning is the most serious of the four levels of advisories.

We are all safe and sound and back to work as of Friday afternoon but I'll post something a little later when things have calmed down regarding how Facebook was useful to communicate to employees and concerned individuals.

I'm working on 1 hour of sleep and so I'll wait to post something later today or tomorrow.


  • 11 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • Paul,

    I've thought about you and your group several times today and am relieved to hear that you're all ok.

  • Thanks Sharon! I am really proud of how well our team responded to this event. Its very challenging to be told to leave your homes around 3 am and then return back 9 hours later to serve your customers without much if any sleep.

    I thought we would have a difficult day ahead of us but everyone stepped up like the professionals that they are.
  • Paul,

    I thought of you when they said on the news this a.m. that Seaside was one of the towns in Oregon they were really watching for tsunami activity and knowing that's near where you are. My stepkids live in that area also.

    Being in S.E. Alaska on the coastline we were in the tsunami zone also, but there were no evacuations here because we are part of a group of islands so we are more protected than you are right on the coast there.

    I'm glad to hear everything is okay and that (disrupted sleep aside) things went smoothly for your business.
  • Paul:
    So glad to hear that you and your family are well and that your community was not affected. There was a poster on the SHRM site Friday afternoon whose office is literally located on the water front in the Oregon/Washington area and they were keeping everyone up to date on the threats. Thanksfully it ws a non-event -for the most part.
  • I am FB friends with Paul and kept my eye on his posts. I was really impressed with how he was able to use FB to keep employees and others up to date with what was going on.

    Watching Paul's posts and the comments on them, it also occurred to me that FB is great in this type of emergency to keep a large network of people updated without having to flood the phone circuits.

    Paul, I kept the CBCC web cam up most of the day and checked on it periodically. I never saw any crazy waves (I did see some crazy people wondering out on the beach to watch the waves). Was there any damage along the Oregon coast?
  • You know, that is a great idea - when we had the "Great Chicago Blizzard" in February, we were trying to figure out communication strategies for letting employees know whether the offices were closed...we never even considered Facebook!

    Thanks for the tip!
  • We just had a freak snowstorm dump 4 inches of snow immediately before and during the morning rush hour today. Thursday it's supposed to be 70+ degrees. I blame Paul's tsunami for all this.
  • Still pretty busy because I was out of the office yesterday but here are some initial thoughts on how FB was helpful in this situation.

    First, let me say that I am very aware that the "tsunami scare" we experienced seems almost trivial compared to the devestation in Japan. However, for about 12 hours, we didn't know what would happen here on the West coast so the concern was very real and very intense.

    1. Facebook became a central "meeting place" to share information. Within minutes of the earthquake in Japan, people were posting on FB and looking for information regarding a potential tsunami.

    2. FB allowed me to get out information to alot of our staff very easily. Faster than phone or e-mail, FB was an outlet for information and a way to "connect" with some nervous staff. Through posts on my wall and "chats" I was able to relay information and try to calm people's fears.

    3. FB is better than e-mail. People have a variety of e-mails and they dont often check them. Almost everyone is on FB however.

    4. When it was time to regroup, I announced it on FB and sent out an e-mail to our supervisors. When it became clear that the threat had subsided, we needed to quickly get our team back in place in order to serve guest groups that were arriving withing hours. I announced there would be a meeting at 1 pm to discuss what needed to be done. At 1 pm, everyone was there.

    5. FB allowed me to answer outsider's questions and concerns. We fielded alot of questions from people who were concerned about us. So many posted that they were thinking and praying for us. It was very encouraging to read those comments and assure them we were wll.

    Just some initial thoughts. I think without FB it would have been much more difficult to communicate so quickly during an ongoing, evolving situation.
  • I thought you guys did a great job of updating frequently while providing substance. I'm curious - did you have to sell anyone on the idea of using Facebook, or is your culture already there?
  • Thats a great question. I think the culture just evolved naturally over time. Day by day, FB has grown as a tool for communication. It wasn't anything that I did intentionally other than to recognize its effectiveness.

    What really helped is that our exec director is very appreciative of the value of Facebook and other tools. He recognizes this new medium for connecting and communicating with people.

    Determing ROI with social networking is difficult but when I can, I've shown him how FB has produced actual results. For example, two of our recent full time staff hires found out about our employment openings through our Facebook page.

    Having his support is invaluable. He's quick to admit he may not understand Facebook entirely but he sees the value in building a presence online that promotes a positive image for our organization.
  • Good information, Paul, and I appreciate your sharing your experiences. Also glad to hear all came out ok in your area. My heart goes out to those in Japan.
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