Saturday, August 14, 2010
One of the strengths of Twitter
is that it can disseminate information very quickly via normal, non-smart phones. (That is, incidentally, why there's a 140-character limit.) One feature they're releasing now allows you to text directly to Twitter to follow or unfollow an account. This could be very good in an emergency situation. An example given on a Twittown posting is this: Something major happens in New York City and news of the disaster is spotty. You text 'follow NotifyNYC' to receive tweets from the city's office of emergency management. They're also making it possible to receive tweets directly to your phone for a particular user, just by texting it on or off. Together that means you can take a normal phone and in less than a minute start receiving texts from authorities no matter where you might be. There is no need to have access to a computer or Internet connexion. That's pretty useful. And I read somewhere recently that in cases like Katrina, when cell phone service was otherwise iffy, text messages tended to make it through better than voice calls. Of course, if you're like me, with a limit to text-messages per month on my cell phone plan, it needs to be used judiciously. But it so makes sense in an emergency.