How Twitter is Being Used To Disseminate Information During The Queensland Floods
Twitter is abuzz today with the news of the Queensland floods (#qldfloods), this post looks at how it is being used by various different types of twitter users to make announcements, share photos, gather information, raise awareness and encourage donations.
Right now on twitter if you search for #qldfloods, you only need to wait 5-10 seconds before the new tweets button appears saying “20 New Tweets”. This means that people in Brisbane and Queensland are tweeting at a rate of around 2 tweets per second. These tweets range from people posting photos via services like TwitPic and YFrog, to people linking to the premier’s disaster relief appeal, to general tweets about individual situations. What is notable though, is how well some organisations such as the Queensland Police Service (@QPSMedia) are using twitter to disseminate important information.
QPSMedia has tweeted many important announcements today including:
Residents in flood prone suburbs should make preparations now #thebigwet #qldfloods
By Thursday, Brisbane and Ipswich facing higher flooding than ’74 floods #thebigwet #qldfloods
They’ve also used facebook to make longer announcements, then linked to the posts via tweets.
Evacuation Centre set up – RNA Showgrounds, Bowen Hills #QldFloods #TheBigWet http://fb.me/NwqIcU9F
QPSMedia’s tweets have been retweeted by hundreds of people, thus keeping them in the live stream and exposing them to a huge audience, meaning that potentially tens or even hundreds of thousands of Queensland based twitter users have seen these announcements on twitter and most probably passed them on both via twitter and other mediums.
Notice that each of these tweets includes the “hashtags” #qldfloods and #thebigwet. By using these hashtags, QPSMedia are ensuring that their tweets are seen not only by their followers, but by anyone who searches for those hashtags – which in this case includes tens of thousands of Queenslanders.
In rapidly changing situations like the Queensland floods, twitter can be an excellent medium to communicate important announcements in real-time. No other tool on earth could be so quickly and easily used to rapidly disseminate information to the relevant people.
Where did you first hear important news during the Queensland floods? Twitter, TV, radio or other?
EDIT: I’ve also seen some interesting cases of people/businesses taking advantage of the powerful #qldfloods hashtag. Bing Lee have decided to donate $1 for every person that likes their facebook page today, and CUE are donating 10% of all sales on Sunday to the appeal. What do you think of them taking advantage of the situation like that?