It takes courage—and openness—to post live updates during a hurricane.
Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit has become the primary source for updates on Hurricane Maria as the storm lashed the island of Dominica last night. His dramatic Facebook posts paint a vivid picture of the storm’s violence.
His pleas and depictions were often poetic as the storm ramped up in fury.
He talked about how the storm affected him personally, and people responded.
— TheSavvySpecialist (@SavvySpecial) September 19, 2017
He conveyed the end of the saga:
Some on Twitter shared his story as a series of his posts.
— Philip Lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) September 19, 2017
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After the devastating night, he shared a final assessment in a longer post. His most quoted phrase has become, “So far we have lost all what money can buy and replace.”
The post was vague on the specifics of the damage, but Skerrit wasted no time in soliciting assistance from other nations: “We will need help, my friend. We will need help of all kinds.”
Here are three takeaways from Skerrit’s posts:
1. Live updates create a compelling narrative.
To deliver your message about a big event, tell a story. Live updates on Facebook or Twitter can provide a vibrant storyline for your audience and information for journalists to tap into.
2. When leaders are unabashedly open about their fears, people listen.
It’s been a common theme: People want authenticity. When facing disaster, leaders rarely talk about their fears; they try to stay optimistic, even inspirational. However, once the worst has happened, a leader can convey his or her own plight—and that of others who are affected—by being honest and showing vulnerability.
3. Always have a call to action.
Skerrit’s big request was for help in rebuilding his country. He initially got attention by sharing live updates and ultimately tied it together by specifying what has to be rebuilt and asking for outside assistance.