The Red Cross learns that tagged ‘tweets’ are ideal for fast and frequent updates during a disaster
In true life-or-death crises—hurricanes, bombings, the upcoming presidential election (we kid, we kid)—Twitter can be an invaluable tool.
“You are able to leverage mobile technology through text message. You can get a message out to thousands of people at once in the time it takes you to send a 140- character-or-less text message to your ‘followers,’” says new media strategist Tracy Viselli, senior manager of social media for QuinStreet Media.
But another way Twitter can be used is by associating a group tag (called a “hashtag” in Twitterspeak) with a topic and then tagging your messages with it; those who wish to receive all messages on that topic can then “follow” that tag.
This works best as a notification service, such as when a situation requires frequent, quick updates.
“The beauty of Twitter is that during a crisis people can be mobile while using it as long as they can set up their mobile phone or PDA to send and receive SMS text messages [Short Message Service] through Twitter,” Viselli says. “No one is tied to a location with Twitter.”