Last week, Twitter made a big (and exciting) announcement:
“We’re launching Twitter Alerts, a new feature that brings us one step closer to helping users get important and accurate information from credible organizations during emergencies, natural disasters or moments when other communications services aren’t accessible.”
Twitter goes on to describe the new service:
“If you sign up to receive an account’s Twitter Alerts, you will receive a notification directly to your phone whenever that account marks a Tweet as an alert. Notifications are delivered via SMS, and if you use Twitter for iPhone or Twitter for Android, you’ll also receive a push notification. Alerts also appear differently on your home timeline from regular Tweets; they will be indicated with an orange bell.”
It’s super easy to subscribe to receive emergency notifications
Simply go to the organization’s Twitter alert page (e.g.: twitter.com/fema/alerts) and click to subscribe. The easiest way to see if an organization has enabled this feature is by going to their Twitter account page. From there you’ll see a little banner on the left sidebar that alerts you to the feature and provides you with a direct link to their alerts page on Twitter:
If your organization is a “local, national [or] international institution that provides critical information to the general public” then click here for more information on how to enrol for this emergency alert feature.
I’m looking very forward to the list of organizations that will enrol in this new alerts system, and to experiencing its use during an emergency disaster. Kudos to Twitter for developing this new alert system and making it so seamlessly integrated with two of the most useful tools for crisis communications: Twitter itself and mobile technology!
For more on leveraging Twitter for your crisis and emergency communications, read “The Guide to Leveraging and Managing Twitter in a Crisis“.
Author of Crisis Ready: Building an Invincible Brand in an Uncertain World, Melissa Agnes is a leading authority on crisis preparedness, reputation management, and brand protection. Agnes is a coveted keynote speaker, commentator, and advisor to some of today’s leading organizations faced with the greatest risks. Learn more about Melissa and her work here.
I love that you posted about this because I have not been hearing much buzz about this new alert system twitter announced. I think this new emergency alert system is crucial for the public because twitter is one of the most timely and efficient ways to alert the public of an emergency. Based on your lecture in Professor Breakenridge's where you discussed the importance of twitter in the crisis communication strategy of an organization this is also an effective new tool useful for organizations to handle crisis communications. The world we live in is constantly changing and people are looking for faster and more efficient ways to get news and stay updated on emergency alerts and this new alert system will serve as the platform.
Melissa Agnes says
Thanks for weighing in with your thoughts on Twitter's new alert system. I think it has some great potential, though I would like to see them publish a web page with a list all of the organizations that have taken part. I have yet to see this.
In terms of the usefulness of the tool, it certainly has great potential. It will all depend on the way the organizations and the public make use of the system during emergencies and crises. It will certainly be interesting to watch!