Fight, flight or film
The ‘fight or flight’ reflex (sometimes expanded to ‘fight, flight or freeze’) is a well-known expression describing the instinctive physiological response to a threatening situation. It’s been an important part of the human make-up since our distant ancestors had to deal with the occasional unscheduled meeting with a sabre-toothed tiger or other predator.
Recently, though, and perhaps somewhat worryingly, another ‘f’ seems to have been added, the ‘f’ in question standing for ‘film’. Rather than preparing to fight or running away from danger, some people nowadays choose to stay and record events on their smartphones. And the phenomenon seems to be on the increase.
From a crisis or incident management point of view, this raises a couple of serious implications that merit some consideration.
Firstly, following some kind of major incident, some of the people we’re responsible for may be unwittingly putting themselves in danger, potentially adding to the people issues that we have to deal with.
Secondly, many of the resulting recordings are posted on various social media platforms and/or shared with the news media, in some cases within minutes of the event happening. Which means that all kinds of people will get to see them, including our staff, customers and other stakeholders.
Whatever your personal opinion of the merits of this behaviour, it happens. So it’s something that your crisis or incident management team should, at the very least, be aware of.