|Fernando Simón, Spokesman of the special committee for the ebola virus management|
Ebola crisis commons: good practices
The Health Care Assistant Teresa Romero was discharged and officially allowed to leave after a month in hospital, what she did to visit her mother in the North of Spain. The press conference to explain how she has recovered from the Ebola virus was quite different from the previous one, offered by the Government when the Health Care Assistant was contaminated by the virus. The director of Carlos III hospital congratulated the whole team for their work, which is always a good way to start.
Good practices made their way (after the pressconference on October 7th) and I’d like to point them out.
An expert in health alerts, spokesperson
The first achievement to me was the nomination of a technical spokesperson. Fernando Simón has proved to be a sensible man capable of offering credible, accurate and timely information. His reputation as a technical expert is out of doubt and this was exactly what was needed to stop rumor spawning rapidly. Simón already dealt with the Influenza A crisis in 2009-2010 and is an expert in health alerts, not a politician. So, his credibility is immaculate and his good disposition to attend the media anytime in plain and clear language has made of him the best possible spokesperson.
(Though there was some other technical spokesperson, like Fernando Rodríguez Artalejo, Simón is nowadays the most popular.)
A single message
Once you have a single spokesperson it is much easier to have a single message. The media know who to ask and that what he says is the official version, so there is no need to search information somewhere else. This fact, besides what I explained above, leaves rumor out of place. When the information is timely, accurate and credible there is no place for rumor.
The same applies to citizens, who are also eager for information and have a right to know.
@Info_Ebola_Es, a Twitter official account to pull information
@Info_Ebola_Es Twitter account is, to me, the best tool to stop rumor spreading through social media. If you want to stop rumor going viral in Twitter, use Twitter. The official account, set on October 14th (and already verified by Twitter) is an official place where it is possible not only to find last minute information but also resources, videos, links, FAQ, recommendations and all the information related to the Ebola virus inside and outside Spain.
Again, official, credible, accurate and trusted information. A one stop shop that makes unnecessary to go somewhere else to search information. If we admit that you must feed the information beast regularly, nothing better than a good big store where everything is at hand.
What is more, @Info_Ebola_Es is a place where the citizens can address the experts directly, ask their questions, have them answered and pull information. Let's not forget that Twitter is a two way channel. Unilateral information of traditional media is not enough (though it is relevant) in this new communications’ era, where nothing is more important for citizens than being capable of getting in touch directly with the source of information.
Again, if I get what I want (certainty), It would not be necessary to go and search somewhere else.
To sum up, we have moved from improvisation to a 360 degree strategy, and the results are what is expected during a crisis.
Any more good practices I may miss?