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Beacon Senior News

Crisis communication: using Facebook to keep your friends and family close

Oct 04, 2017 01:22PM ● By Adam Cochran

In 2010, my daughter began having mysterious health problems. We spent a lot of time traveling to Children’s Hospital in Denver while doctors tried to pinpoint a diagnosis and treatment.

My family is active in the community, and my wife and I each have a lot of family members. My daughter had her own group of friends, too. All of these worried people wanted regular updates about our medical situation.

We felt loved, but it was extremely difficult keeping up with all the phone calls and emails. Communicating with everyone became almost as much of a burden as the health problems.

Finding a better way

I used to help snowbirds create free blogs so they wouldn’t have to spend time writing letters and emails to friends and family back home. I would teach people how to post pictures and updates, and answer common questions about their day-to-day adventures. That’s one way to keep a group of people updated.

When my daughter got sick, I realized there was another way: Facebook is a built-in crisis management tool.

What Facebook can do

In addition to allowing individuals to create accounts for online personal interaction, the platform also provides the ability to set up groups and pages.

A group allows people to join and communicate with each other, even if they aren’t friends on Facebook. For example, if you’re a member of a club, you may find a group useful for communicating outside of regular meetings.

A page allows people to like a certain topic and then receive updates from the page’s creator.

In our case, we decided to create a “Get Well” page for our daughter, where we posted messages, videos, pictures and other updates about her progress. Anyone who liked the page could comment on it.

Almost instantly, our communication dilemma went away. We felt like we were being cared for, our friends felt like they knew what was going on, and we could read comments and respond at our convenience.

Don’t miss out

If you have family on Facebook but you aren’t there, you’re missing out on continuous updates, photos and even reports of the mundane that will make your network seem closer.

This is not an attempt to persuade you to begin posting selfies or playing games on Facebook. But just as television has a lot of garbage with worthwhile programs mixed in, Facebook has entire channels featuring messages and updates from the people you love most.