PIER Founder to Address Social Media Issues at Ragan/PRSA Conference

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Gerald Baron Presenting March 13 in Las Vegas on Social Media and Crisis Communication.

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Nothing has spurred the change from pronouncement to engagement more than social media

According to PIER Founder Gerald Baron, crisis communications will never be the same; social media is profoundly changing the rules of the game.

"Nothing has spurred the change from pronouncement to engagement more than social media," says Baron. "It is not about controlling the information flow as much as it is about getting involved in the conversation and participating in the process of interchange with information and misinformation coming from multiple sources."

Baron will speak on social media and crisis communications at "Social Media for Communicators" a conference sponsored by Ragan Communications and PRSA at the Wynn hotel in Las Vegas, March 11-13.

"Social media affects crisis communication in two different ways," says Baron. "It creates new risks and vulnerabilities such as employees freely stating their opinions and gripes on social media sites where they can be spread like a bad virus. But social media also creates new opportunities to engage with key influencers and audiences quickly and directly."

Baron will review the rapid adoption of social media tools such as Twitter, particularly by government agencies. "For some reason governments have pretty much led the charge in using these tools to improve transparency and speed," said Baron. "Agencies like the US Coast Guard, Los Angeles Fire Department, state departments of transportation, and now even FEMA, are making effective use of some of these tools.

While social media is making massive changes in how organizations engage their key audiences, Baron also emphasizes that the basics of crisis communication haven't changed. "If anything, it reinforces that what we have learned is most important," said Baron. "Fundamentally, it is about building trust and that comes first and foremost by performing well and doing what people want and expect from you. But right action without communication does not result in trust. Communication today must be incredibly fast, direct, interactive and transparent. Miss any of those elements and trust is very much at risk."

Baron created the PIER System in 2000 resulting from his experience in managing communications during large scale oil industry events. PIER has been widely adopted by federal agencies, local and state government agencies, the American Red Cross, universities and Fortune 100 companies including numerous oil and energy industry leaders. The former CEO of PIER Systems and president of Baron & Company, Baron now serves as the Director of PIER Strategic Services, providing consulting and training services to PIER clients.

About PIER Systems: The PIER System is the world's first and only all-in-one, web based communications management system. Many Fortune 500 companies and top organizations including American Red Cross, BP, Boeing Commercial Airplanes, Los Angeles Department of Water & Power, Marathon Oil Corporation, NASA, University of Houston, USDA and all 9 districts of the US Coast Guard, use the PIER System for internal and external communications with employees, the public, investors, the media and more. PIER's advanced technology and powerful content management tools provide business continuity, safety solutions and preparedness standards. Features include contact lists, media management, mass notification, news and press release distribution, document approval and more in one easy-to-use platform. For more information visit PIERSystems.com.

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