Twitter: Spread the word #mboro

April 13, 2009

Twitter can help you broadcast important news

Last Friday afternoon, hundreds of people used Twitter to report on the severe storm in Middle Tennessee:

3429072089_d4a56a34d4_o#mboro – tornado touchdown on broad at 840. take cover.

Reported Tornado Touchdown in Murfreesboro, TNhttp://tinyurl.com/cewbso

Emergency services are responding to reports that people are trapped in Murfreesboro, Tenn. after tornado hits; homes destroyed.

The Carpenter’s House church in Murfreesboro is open as a shelter for those affected by the storm.

Thompson lane and Murfreesboro road area is shut down to all traffic

Yeah, there’s a LOT of damage in Murfreesboro, where i live…massive tornadoes here…but me and my family are safe 🙂

If you are in or around Murfreesboro, please stay off cell phones. Cell towers taken out and police need the lines.

My dad says his house in Murfreesboro is ok! Thank goodness.

Heard about the tornados in Tennessee. Are you safe?

Yep. I’m good.

Just heard from in-laws who live in Murfreesboro that it looks like they came through the storms without damage.

Glad to hear all my #murfreesboro bandmates and friends are ok after the #tornado

In emergency situations, getting the word out quickly is paramount. After the storm, the first concern is letting everyone know that you’re safe. Cellphones make this an easy task, but you have to make calls to a lot of people. Meanwhile, your friends and family are all frantically dialing all the same people. This is not ideal for keeping emergency communications channels open for rescue workers.

Twitter, makes spreading the news much quicker. One tweet from your cell phone can let all of your friends know if you’re okay. In turn, your friends can retweet your news to further spread the word among your peers. This frees up the communication channels and allows you to reach more people with one text.

Another unique thing happened: Twitter connected the online community to the event as it occurred. Eyewitnesses, local residents, media, and weather agencies, were tweeting information, pictures, and links. Twitter satisfies your curiosity to know what is happening. And it allows you to leverage the power of many people to find the information you need during and after an emergency.

What do you think? Do you see a future with this kind of communication?

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2 Responses to “Twitter: Spread the word #mboro”

  1. Jim Says:

    I was unconvinced of the value of this form of communication, as opposed to regular IM or blogging until recently. I was mostly interested in it as in was something patrons used. My mind started changing regarding its value when I realized that organizations, including govt. organizations, were using Twitter for official business. Hmmm. As an archivist/historian I realized that a lot of material could be generated that would need preservation and could be used for research.

    When I came home Friday and my wife said the radio and even the national news channels were reporting things they were picking up on Twitter, I realized that tweeting is going to be both bigger and more useful than I thought.

    As a former Coast Guardsman who has had to deal with poor communications in emergency situations, the above post makes me aware of how valuable this form of communication can be if individuals plan in advance to use it and keep cell “lines” free. Just as we always used to recommend that families have at least 2 people a long way away (in safe locations with communications) who could be used as common contacts for family members should they be unable to communicate in an emergencey, Twitter could be the virtual common place for folk in an emergency.
    Good post.
    I’m sold.


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