Post #2 — #Governmentshutdown causes digital crisis with federal websites and Twitter accounts blackout

As we know, we’re still in a #Governmentshutdown. What typically lasts only two days is causing digital consequences as Twitter accounts and websites halt.

Other organizations suffering from the Government’s neutral state include: closing all national parks and monuments, denying veterans their benefits, and federal workers not reporting to the workplace until this ends.  This also means a delay in students receiving their loan money if this prolongs.

Today, companies and public relations professionals almost rely on digital channels (social media and other websites) to reach their audiences, which — in a digital age — include Twitter followers and unique monthly visitors.

Twitter accounts and websites not updating information or responding to inquires at this time include:

1. WhiteHouse.Gov (http://www.whitehouse.gov):

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2. Smithsonian website (http://www.si.edu):

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3. Veterans Affairs Twitter (https://twitter.com/DeptVetAffairs):

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If prolonged, this Government and digital shutdown could generate a crisis — with rippling affects on other organizations, resulting in a possible economic recession — which calls for crisis management.

So how does the Government shutdown affect public relations in a digital age?

Today, we’ve become virtually reliant on using social media to instantaneously communicate to our audiences during a crisis.

While it is not yet at crisis management level, we’re already seeing the digital affects of this Government fued. (What I’ve termed as “The 2013 digital shutdown crisis.”)

Federal businesses are losing revenue. This shutdown is costing $12.5 million per hour. And public relations professionals and organizations cannot digitally or rapidly communicate to upset consumers, federal workers or students (and the list continues), due to the Twitter and website blackout.

Looks like communication professionals will have to keep traditional tactics — such as identifying a spokesperson and preparing media statements — in their back pockets in case this digital shutdown continues.

As with any crisis, things could get worse before they get better. Usually, a crisis dissolves when business returns. Since the shutdown persists toward day five, the question remains: is there an end in sight?

Regardless, Obama’s public relations practitioners certainly have their work cut out for them.

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