Social media skills exercising for Chicago O’Hare and Midway airports

Chicago O’Hare and Midway airports wanted to test their ability to harness social and traditional media channels as part of their emergency public information response to a high-impact incident impacting both airports simultaneously.

We were enlisted to take part in their triennial full-scale exercise in order to test Public Information Officers (PIOs) spread across two Joint Information Centers (JICs), including:

  • Examining how two JICs coordinated their public information response by sharing information and harmonising messaging
  • Testing how PIOs handled a high volume of passenger and other stakeholder queries across real-time social media feeds
  • Testing how PIOs handled a high volume of phone queries from reporters

We used our Social Simulator platform and associated role-play service to enable the participants to:

  • Engage with lifelike recreations of Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, with our team of role-players recreating the fallout from the incident and interacting in real-time with PIOs
  • Post statements to mock-ups of their websites and monitor authentic-looking media feeds, including TV bulletins, radio broadcasts and traditional media articles 
  • Engage with role-played telephone queries from reporters looking for latest information in relation to the incident

Project Outcomes

Learnings identified during the exercise have led to updates being made to the Chicago Department of Aviation’s public information process