Twitter During A Time Of Crisis Or Breaking News
June 13, 2011
When Twitter first hit the social media scene, I must admit that I thought it was the most ridiculous thing I’d ever heard of. I wondered; Who has the time to broadcast what they are doing every minute of the day? Who is so arrogant to think that what they are doing or saying is so important that others will want to follow their every step? Why would I want anyone to know what I am doing or where I am going?
Recent events have completely changed my mind about Twitter. During a time of crisis or breaking news (whether local, state, or national), a person having access to Twitter can stay well-informed. The Joplin EF5 tornado is a prime example. Within a very short period of time, following the Red Cross, Salvation Army, and the Missouri Baptist Convention helped me to understand the best way to respond and help. It also enabled me to rapidly pass information on to others via Twitter and Facebook. I thought it was brilliant that Missouri Governor Jay Nixon followed the recommendation of Alabama Twitter users to encourage Twitter users who had items to donate to tag posts with #MOHaves, and Twitter users in areas of need to tag posts with #MONeeds. These tags enabled agencies responding to Joplin to better coordinate these resources. Posts on Twitter enabled First Responders to locate victims after the tornado buried them under rubble. Several rescues were made possible because of Twitter, Facebook, and cell phone texts!
Another way I recently used Twitter to find out what was going on was when a breaking news announcement scrolled across the bottom of my TV screen stating that President Obama would be making an important announcement regarding national security. My husband and I are both former military, and were immediately concerned that something bad had either just happened or was about to happen. While he waited for the announcement, I got on Twitter and checked to see what was being said. Essentially, I was able to find out that the infamous Osama Bin Laden was no longer a threat before our President even spoke. My husband didn’t believe what I had read on Twitter, and it was sort of fun to see the look on his face when the news was confirmed. I think he’s come around to thinking of Twitter differently, too.
As I was in the middle of writing this blog, the tornado sirens sounded. I glanced over at my co-worker and, for a moment, surmised that what we were hearing was part of the routine siren testing. Then, it dawned on both of us that it was not a test. As we encouraged our patrons to seek shelter with us in the basement, I grabbed my iPod Touch and logged into Twitter. As storms passed overhead, I followed KCTV5, KMBZ, and a few other sources. I was able to provide updates on what was happening with various storm cells. Sometimes having access to a little extra knowledge can be very comforting.
Do you use Twitter? MCPL currently has approximately 80 items related to Twitter or other social media. Some are even available as a download to a mobile device!
Blue Ridge Branch