What’s Instagram? Crisis Lessons from a Turbulent Decade


So what were you doing on January 1st 2010?

Many of you would have been nursing a hangover and enjoying a long weekend before returning to work on the Monday.

Here’s what you were NOT doing:

  • Looking at Instagram – it was launched later that year, on October 6th
  • Using an iPad – it was launched in April 2010.
  • Using Vine to broadcast a brief video – it was not launched until 2012 and was dead by 2016.
  • Tweeting in the way you now do – the so-called ‘New Twitter’ was rolled out in the fall of 2010.

That year featured some notable and devastating crises.

It was the year that the Deepwater Horizon platform exploded killing 11 workers, creating a massive environmental crisis in the Gulf and almost bringing down one of the world’s largest oil companies, BP.

In terms of crisis management, we paid attention to the internet – BP devoted huge resources to having a team monitor social channels 24x7 and respond as needed.

However, a lot of crisis response was still undertaken in a traditional manner.

The mainstream media were still hugely influential – BP spent tens of millions on an advertising campaign to try to convince stakeholders that it was doing the right thing in the aftermath of the disaster. (The merits of that campaign are debated to this very day).

Crisis plans were likely stored as a paper document in a massive 3-ring binder.

You could write a book about the changes since then in the decade that just closed.

But, to focus on the world of crisis management, let’s focus on a handful of key facts:

  • The massive growth in ownership of smartphones in the US – the installed base of Apple's iPhones alone now is close to 200m.
  • The huge adoption of social media (with the odd misfire – see Vine), which is now the primary source for many consumers, especially younger ones, for news and current events.
  • Plummeting circulation and trust of the mainstream media.

The biggest impact on our world of crisis management is that issues now arise and move very, very quickly.

Thankfully the smartphones and iPads that allow first-hand reporting of adverse events and make it easy for people to build trending topics on social media that are harmful to brands, also give us new ways of managing adverse issues and events to protect our organizations.

Notably, our crisis plans and resources are now accessed and activated via the mobile devices that we carry with us at all times – allowing a fast and effective crisis response, no matter the hour or the day.

Crisis teams have collaboration tools like secure chat, interactive checklists and polling available at the touch of a smartphone icon to help them work together effectively.

Having social media tools, resources and well-trained team members is as crucial, if not more so, as the way you handle the traditional media of newspapers and broadcasters.

It’s easy to look back 10 years and see the changes – it’s often less obvious as you live through those times.

Take a good look at your crisis preparedness plans and resources.

Are they more 2010 than 2020?

Need to bring your crisis preparedness up to the demands of the new decade? Want to learn more about how our award-winning crisis app, In Case of Crisis, trusted by more than 750 organizations worldwide, will help you? Click here to register for an app demo and have your questions answered.