I don’t know about you, but I already use Twitter to keep up with breaking stories and news. When we have nasty weather in the D.C. area, Twitter keeps me informed. A couple of years back, we had a small earthquake here. As soon as the earth stopped moving, I checked Twitter to confirm what had happened.
Apparently, I’m not alone in this because Twitter just launched Twitter Alerts service, which allows you to subscribe to participating organizations and receive real-time alerts in emergency situations.
Alerts can come as SMS messages, and they show up in the Timeline with a small orange bell. I haven’t seen any yet in my Timeline, but it’s new, and it doesn’t seem like anything bad is happening in the world right now.
Twitter is limiting the types of organizations that can enroll. According to their blog post on partners, here’s who qualifies
- law enforcement and public safety agencies;
- emergency management agencies;
- city and municipal governments, as well as their agencies and representatives;
- county and regional agencies, providing services to cities and municipalities;
- and select state, federal, and national agencies and NGOs.
I think this is a good idea and a strategic move as Twitter approaches its IPO. If this is how they plan to make themselves more accessible, I approve.