The events of the past week have the Blackboard Connect team working in overdrive. Beginning late last week and continuing throughout the weekend, schools, universities and local governments used the Blackboard Connect™ platform to send out nearly 6.9 million messages with updates and the latest information about Hurricane Irene. While Hurricane Irene was kind enough to offer a bit of warning prior to her arrival, Tuesday’s earthquake, with its 5.8 magnitude, had clients quickly turning to Blackboard Connect, sending out nearly 1.5 million messages to residents, students, parents and faculty offering reassurance and relief information.

As power lines and cell phone towers were compromised, these recent events demonstrate the importance of having a reliable system in place to send communication quickly and in multiple modes to various devices. A recent article following the earthquake noted how social media, in conjunction with traditional methods, is playing a larger role in helping spread information, as many consulted online social networking sites after the first shocks were felt.

As communities work to restore order, we continue to work with clients to craft and send messages which provide updates concerning recovery efforts and updates. We are also working to help clients integrate social media into their overall crisis communications strategy. September marks the start of National Preparedness Month so be sure to check the blog often as we’ll be highlighting best practices and tips when communicating during urgent situations in the coming weeks.

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