Twitter Fast Follow for Crisis Communications?
In August Twitter announced Fast Follow, a new way for citizens to subscribe to Tweets via SMS even if they don’t have a Twitter account.
For example, if I text “follow StPeteFL” to 40404 I will start receiving every Tweet from St. Petersburg, FL as a text message on my phone.
That’s possibly quicker and easier than subscribing to most city alert programs, which often require your name, email, etc to be entered online. And, people don’t even have to know what Twitter is or how to use it – huge considering roughly 75% of the US is not Tweeting.
- Promote the message “Text “follow MtgmryCntyMD” Alert to 40404′ to get emergency alerts from Montgomery County, MD.” Put up some signs, add it to your website, get the local news to cover it, whatever.
- Tweet your message from your new account to blast out an alert. Every subscriber will receive a text message when you do this by way of Twitter’s feathery magic.
- Reliability. If Twitter could harpoon the fail “ship” and keep their service online 99% of the time (putting it on par with traditional alerting companies), one could rest easier using Twitter to power crisis alerting. Of course, I wouldn’t recommend it now for “shooter on campus” alerts where seconds make a difference, but it would be fine for weather warnings, major road closures, etc., but heck people could tweet from a crisis scenario if they are able to get a word out.
- Feature set. Alerting companies provide a lot of useful features like transmission reports, message templates, geotargeting, etc. This doesn’t exist yet for Twitter, but it could?