Fighting Fire with Tweets

Recently an article came out talking about the use of Twitter to keep residents near the Station Fire on the Angeles National Forest in California informed about the efforts to fight the fire.

While a great tool to accomplish this task, the article did mention some great points to keep in mind, especially when working in a fluid situation like a fire or disaster area. Some of these lessons can be applied to everyday situations as well.

1. When working with partners, make sure that there is a coordinated effort and that everyone knows what information is being put out.

2. Social media can be used to keep internal audiences informed as well as media and external audiences

3. Close the loop on your information. The article referred to “cleets” and defined them as information that clarified what was happening following a post covering immediate action.

4. Technology has its limits. Have a back up system for getting information out incase there is no internet or cell phone reception.

5. Use multiple sources of information so you can tell a more indepth story. It’s difficult to sum up a major event in just 140 characters.

Another item mentioned in the article was the fact that people were writing their own stories about what happened during the fires. While the first hand accounts might provide interesting perspectives, if identified they need to be monitored to ensure that important information can get out and that searches for information aren’t too cluttered. In order to do this the indepentdent bloggers or writers could be contacted and added to the “official” list of contacts so they can assist in distributing information.


2 Responses to “Fighting Fire with Tweets”

  1. tb72182 Says:

    I’m glad they are using Twitter to help the emergency responders. However, the demographics of Twitter users are young adults between the 18-34. I’m not sure if this demographic would care as much as a older audience, who has families. Maybe I am not giving enough credit though. Maybe, this type of advancement will pull in an older audience. Did they say anything about the impact of this?

  2. Lauren Venoy Says:

    I think this is a great way to engage members of the community and inform them of important ways to prevent disasters such as forest fires. This reminds me of the initiative at the University of Florida and the University of South Florida where the administration would send out text messages regarding important university security matters. This was initiated after the Virginia Tech tragedy. Mobile Marketing and Social Media sites are making information transmittal seamless.

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