MH370 Families Notified of Sad Fate by Text and Social Media, But What Do You Think Would've Been More Appropriate?

By Gerald Lynch on at

In this hyper-connected age, we're used to getting information in an instant. When you're solving a pub argument over a beer that's great, but, as our readers have discussed in relation to flight MH370, there are also certain situations where the immediacy of a text or email can seem cold compared to face-to-face human contact.

I can't even begin to imagine how the family members of those presumably lost on flight MH370 felt when they were notified via text message by officials that their loved ones were likely dead, never to be recovered. It must have felt incredibly impersonal. Even worse, newspapers and media outlets picked up on the messages almost immediately, and apparently shared the news on social media sites before all the relatives had had a chance to come to terms with the news.

And yet, what other methods could have done the job better? A one-to-one meeting between officials and the families of passengers onboard the flight would likely have been best, but with next of kin dotted around the globe it would still have been impossible to notify everyone all at once -- families of those onboard have been calling for the immediate release of information, and text messaging certainly allows for this. A press conference in front of the world's media would have had its own problems, likely becoming a photo-op circus for papers looking to milk every tear. And in the light of the last few year's phone hacking scandals, could a conference call have been carried out in a sensitive way, without the possibility of information leaking? It's a tough decision.

So what do you think? Was there a better method to communicate the horrible news that officials overlooked?