3 min read

Do not be shocked by the idiocy.

If you or your organization is attempting to tie a war to your mission statement–whether justified or not–it's a communications crisis.

Hey. It's Wil.

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I remember turning to my wife at the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and saying:

this will be the most visible war ever.

Probably not that big of a statement. Given the planet's acceleration of handheld cameras, documenting the war is being done by journalists and locals alike.

However, that visibility isn't just in the amount or types of footage.

It's also in how we're experiencing it, giving everyone the ability to use their own words to describe what they are seeing (and hearing, smelling, etc.).

Which can be a blessing.

And an absolute curse for those individuals and organizations who are not leveraging a communications professional in a time of crisis.

(And let's be honest. If you or your organization is attempting to tie a war to your mission statement–whether justified or not–it's a communications crisis.)

First rodeo, it is not.

One of the fascinating things when reading, listening and watching coverage on the war is the communication from some folks.

It's not what folks say.

It's why they feel the need to say anything.

At all.

At this moment.

Take this tweet from John Terry, the decorated and questionably astute ex-Chelsea FC captain:

Twitter: John Terry

This tweet was in response to the decision of Roman Abramovich–the owner of Chelsea FC–to sell the club. Likely a decision made by the owner to ensure the ongoing business success of the club (while, I'm sure, continuing payments to said owner).

And remembering the insensitive timing (September 12, 2001) of another incident, it shouldn't surprise us that someone of John Terry's character would post something that is seemingly ill-timed.

While Lampard was fined by Chelsea for the incident, along with team-mates Jody Morris, John Terry and Frank Sinclair, there was not actually any evidence that the American tourists had been mocked - only acknowledgement that the timing of the incident was insensitive. The players involved also denied "categorically" that they intended to insult any individuals.

– The Independent

Why did John Terry need to post this? And why now?

Should we be shocked that he made this comment?

Or, are these the same types of statements he's made all along? Making this one statement no different than others made?

In other words, these aren't new statements or new characteristics from a fella with otherwise priest-like qualities.

These are actions and words that have been said all along. The only difference? It's been made public for the world to see.

And there are lots more of this out there.

Maybe the shock is that we're surprised by any of this?

It's not all bad.

Take this tweet from Remington, an NRA partner:

Twitter: Remington

While I question the image used above (I mean, does Remington have any other relationship with Ukraine, or can this be seen as cuddling up to a positive message in the market?), the message and positioning is smart.

You might say the same thing about the social media and technology companies, too. Shutting down their services in specific regions is smart. While their services remain dangerous, removing them from regions in conflict can be seen as the right move in the long-term.

Remington, on the other hand, is giving its product away. Assuming there is some benefit (tax write-off?), the publicity around their effort should be commended.

(I'm only speaking of communications here. War is terrible and ammunition should be replaced with bilateral talks.)

  • Web3: I noticed a survey when logging into my Cloudflare account today. Some questions and feedback surrounding Web3, crypto, etc. It made me think about trust and reputation in the world we're living in today.
  • Filtering the internet: I once worked at an equity research firm in San Francisco. Our tagline was "filtering the internet" - basically taking the products, services, companies and technologies and categorizing them. I wonder if reputation would automate much of that filtering today?
  • Keeping tabs: I've had zero interest in following the war on CNN. I have been streaming Sky News and the @OSINTdefender Twitter Spaces (is that how it's referenced?) in addition to many podcasts. It's been a good, balanced consumption (if not overwhelming) of media.

Sources and references.