Monday, 6 August 2007

Using Twitter In A Crisis

I made an interesting discovery the other day, thanks to @tastybit. It seems that the LA Fire Department is now twittering.

Last week I heard Robert Scoble mention in a Facebook video that if an earthquake struck, he would now turn straight to Twitter to get the latest on the disaster (if his web or mobile infrastructure was up that is, or as soon as it was). Scoble also mentioned that when the (non-terrorist related) explosion happened in New York a couple of weeks ago, he heard about it first on Twitter, well before the mainstream media got hold of it. He was even able to indirectly alert people living in the neighbourhood before they knew about it.

It strikes me that Twitter is a natural source for up-to-the-minute crisis information such as this. It would be an effective way to get information out to quite a few people during an emergency situation - the LA Fire Department obviously thinks so too. There is no doubt that the word would spread very quickly. It may well be the case that people working in the mainstream media might be alerted to a crisis by their Twitter friends in the area.

3 comments:

Dendrimer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dendrimer said...

I have to credit @scobleizer for the LAFD find...

yewenyi said...

Hm, the one crisis I have been is was while defending the home from bush fires in the Dandenongs. We were constantly on the phone and calling friends who had the fires in their streets or near by to work out where the fire was and where it was going. Though when the wind changed direction and started heading straight for us, we could heat the helicopters. Luckily the fire brigade put it out shortly there after. But this sort of active event that can go for hours or days would probably be more suited than a single event like an explosion.