In Case of Emergency, Read This Blog

In Case Of Emergency, Read Blog

A Citizen’s Eye View of Public Preparedness

“Tornado Alley, Twitter Style”

May 1st, 2010 · 3 Comments

On the blog, there is a fascinating post, “Tornado Alley, Twitter Style,” by Keith Crawford. He offers a terrific case study of how Twitter — and in particular the hashtag #ARwx created by one Tweeter — outpaced the mainstream media in informing his Arkansas community when a tornado struck this week:

Apr 30, 2010 may well be known as the night that new media changed the game in the state of Arkansas. Tonight was one of the most amazing examples of the power of Twitter and in turn showed how excruciatingly far we have to go. Here’s how 4 little letters beat the entire mainstream media.

There is a storm a comin’. It’s springtime in the South and that means it’s tornado season. Tornados are a very strange animals. They touchdown for seconds, change directions in a blink of an eye and travel at 50+ mph. It’s a weather event like no other.

We aren’t strangers to twisters down here and we all know to turn on the TV, break out the severe weather radios and wait for the weatherman to say “take cover”. Only tonight was different.

There was one system that had better news, quicker updates, broader coverage, and more reporters in the field than any other. Twitter.

I can’t do it justice but let me attempt to give you a glimpse of what you could find:

* The National Weather Service guy, @wxmandan giving you updates on NWS bulletins and reports as he saw them. A couple of times he’d even say “we are getting ready to release…” And every person in the stream had the info 1-2min before the TV (that’s an eternity in tornado time);

* Regional forecasters adding 3d images and all sorts of graphs I can’t even explain; Storm reports statewide, eyewitness accounts of hail and funnel cloud;

* Links to webcast of the Arkansas State Police radio feed;

*Instant notifications of tornado sirens wherever they sounded;

*People reporting that tv/power was out and they were ONLY getting news via the #arwx stream. (That is huge! We are talking about keeping people safe. Not theory, ROI, or analytics but vital information distribution)

Simply, the most comprehensive data stream you can possibly imagine, made possible by the #arwx hashtag. There was only one thing missing. The organizations that are actually make a living reporting news and weather…

In the rest of the post, Crawford elaborates on the event with useful screenshots and offers suggestions to local broadcast media on better using social media during these emergencies. Thanks to the AllHandsDotNet Twitter feed for bringing this to my attention.

These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • Technorati

Tags: Preparedness 2.0

3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Keith // May 1, 2010 at 7:24 pm

    Thank you very much for sharing the post. I would like to clarify that @AR_emergencies actually created the hashtag this past winter. It was created with the intent to be generic enough to be used for all arkansas weather events.

    Thanks again
    Keith – @tsudo

  • 2 Scott // May 2, 2010 at 4:09 pm

    I don’t mention twitter alerts on my Tornado Safety page, but maybe I should! This is an excellent use of technology.

  • 3 Free classified ads worldwide // Mar 18, 2017 at 4:52 am

    free ad posting…

    Free classified advertising worldwide have a distinctive and best connection with advertising around enjoy investing have a great time in advertising free advertising posting site…

Leave a Comment