recently i mentioned a smart blog called Communication Overtones and the proprietor there was kind enough to leave a comment here about the duck. One of the reasons i think she "gets it" on blogs and social media is she has a background in crisis communications.
i've done a decent amount of work in crisis and litigation communications. (i once led a conference call about a plane crash from the site of a train derailment.) and it strikes me that the communications environments you see there are remarkably similar to the online space.
Events happen remarkably fast and you have to move just as quickly to respond.
"Media" scrutiny is intense and people tend to process information as opposed to fact-check all the time. Consequently, not all the information out there is accurate.
Protagonists lead the story - so it's sometimes hard to get your story out, but there are many opportunities available.
People who are trying to report information will go ANYWHERE to get it and people who consume information will look anywhere to find it as well.
Much more often than not, the worst thing you can do is refuse to participate in the discussion. Communications textbooks are filled with case studies of companies that sat in the bunker or refused to comment in a crisis. Or failed to act quickly. It's like that here.
We need to start talking about online earned media in terms that companies who need it most can understand. No, online is NOT the same as crisis. But many of the skills and conditions translate.