Government authorities to receive Alert function

Local government social media training

Government, local authorities and emergency services in the United Kingdom are to receive a new facility on Twitter.

Already in use in the USA, Japan and South Korea, Twitter Alerts is set to become an invaluable tool in the real-time communication of important alerts to either communities or an entire population.

The service was revealed on Twitter a couple of weeks ago, but we've seen varying levels of readiness or awareness in the UK.

 

Twitter Alerts - what does it do?

If you follow an account that is enrolled in Twitter Alerts, you'll receive live notification of breaking, and potentially vital, information pertinent to emergencies that may effect you.

The system works by reacting to the use of a specific hashtag on the posts of accounts that enrol.  When tweets are posted with the hashtag on them, a number of things happen.

In addition to the tweet appearing in users timelines with an orange bell beside it, Twitter will push notifications/SMS messages out to the phones of subscribed users.

 

Who can use it?

Twitter is currently accepting enrolment applications from UK authorities that fall into any of the following categories:

There are currently over 100 accounts subscribed to the service in the countries it is available in.

Twitter training

What type of news would it communicate?

Twitter has given categories into which news communications could fall when using the system.  At present, it states that the system could be used for any of the following situations:
  • Warnings of imminent danger (flood, fire, etc)
  • Preventative instructions
  • Evacuation directions
  • Urgent safety alerts
  • Information on access to essential resources
  • Information on critical transit and utility outages
  • Crowd and misinformation management
Twitter give examples of hurricanes, the Japanese tsunami disaster and Boston marathon bombing as situations when the system might have been used.  In reality, it has much wider ranging potential.  

 

Has my local authority or emergency service signed up for it?

We've no definitive list of who has or hasn't enrolled in the service yet.  What we do know is that awareness of social media change in the United Kingdom isn't always particularly high, especially where feature releases are concerned.

If you want to know if your County, Borough or City council has applied, or perhaps your local Police or Fire authority, we recommend you use the medium of Twitter to ask them.  

You can start by pointing them to this article if they're unaware of the system.

They can then enrol by going to:  Twitter Alert Enrolment

 

 



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