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A Citizen’s Eye View of Public Preparedness

Twitter Lists: A Terrific New Social Media Information Resource In Emergencies

November 9th, 2009 · 1 Comment

Andrew Ostrow of Mashable had an interesting post pointing out how the new Twitter Lists have already become excellent resources for the public during emergencies as was demonstrated last week during the Ft. Hood shootings.

The Lists allow Twitter users to organize the feeds they’re following into groups. And, Ostrow notes the work of several news organizations as part of their Ft. Hood coverage to provide a “real-time view of what multiple sources — both local and national — are reporting”:

“The New York Times: Their Fort Hood Shootings list has updates from news organizations throughout Texas, the US Army, as well as what look to be several citizen journalists on the ground…

Dallas Morning News: Reporter Scott Goldstein has taken it upon himself to setup a list of news sources…

CNN: The cable news network has created its own Fort Hood list with local and national sources. It’s the first list the network has created on its breaking news (@cnnbrk) account, which has more than 2.8 million followers.

What’s really interesting here from a media perspective is that we’re seeing news organizations that compete vigorously for breaking news turning to real-time curation to help tell the story. And the result is certainly a win for media consumers – rather than searching far and wide for local news from Fort Hood, it’s all being aggregated for us by news organizations we trust. It certainly might be a glimpse of what’s to come from the Twitter Lists feature.”

I have put together an emergency preparedness list on my Twitter feed, and I’ll be highlighting some lists being set up for Hurricane Ida. [UPDATE: Andy Carvin at National Public Radio is putting together a list for Ida at]

Thanks to Jimmy Jazz who referred me to the Mashable post.

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Tags: Preparedness 2.0 · Preparedness Resources

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 W. David Stephenson // Nov 9, 2009 at 11:16 am

    John: couldn’t agree more (and then add in the new geolocation twist Twitter’s about 2 release, and you’ve got major source of actionable info. As part of the project I’m doing for NPR (and let’s do that interview this wk!) I’m hoping to have a number of stations host Tweetups where social media activists could brainstorm how to use mobile devices & web 2.0 apps. to best advantage both in reporting 2 public officials & acting as citizen journalists newsgathering for local NPR stations.

    Government on all levels has done a miserable job (I’d exempt the Philly OEM from that) on really figuring out how to capitalize on social media as anything more than an alternative broadcast medium. Tell ‘em to hire me and we can crowdsource disaster info.
    – David

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