Twitter Alerts for Disaster Response

Twitter Alerts for Disaster Response

Twitter’s real-time communication platform has grown to be the defacto tool for understanding “What’s happening” in the world today. Hundreds of millions of people use Twitter to tweet about everyday activities, conversations, and business. Most importantly for your disaster response business is the use of Twitter as an emergency indicator.

When natural disasters occur, users will post relevant tweets. Twitter accounts are associated with geo-location, so when a user tweets about “fire”, “flood”, “earthquake”, we can know that they are experiencing the issue in a specific area. That’s Twitter Alerts for Disaster Response for you.

This is an incredibly valuable real-time response opportunity – imagine millions of people crowdsourcing the location of necessary disaster response within seconds.

Twitter is rolling out a new feature that will allow users to get emergency information directly from vetted, credible organizations. The system, called Twitter Alerts, will deliver tweets marked as an alert by approved organizations through the traditional timeline feed and via SMS to a user’s cellphone. In addition, users who have the Twitter app for iPhone or Android will receive a push notification with the alert information.

Elaine Pittman, GovTech

Twitter Alerts for Disaster Response: Searching Twitter for Disasters

Twitter Alerts for Disaster Response

You can manually search Twitter for disasters. Simply go to the search bar and type in your terms. For disasters, you want to get into the head of the user and make sure your search criteria is using both proper parlance and also colloquialisms. For example, in addition to searching for “tornado” and “#tornado”, you would also want to include searches for “twister”, “#twister”. That’s just one example. You’re the disaster response expert – you know how people describe natural disasters in your area.

Twitter Alerts for Disaster Response: Monitor Disaster Hashtags on Twitter

Disaster-related hashtags are fairly straightforward. Start with the obvious and be sure to include local variants and idioms to cover all your bases.

  • #disaster
  • #fire
  • #earthquake or #quake
  • #flood #flooding
  • #emergency

Also, do not forget to search non-hashtag terms. People may be tweeting about disasters without knowing how to use hashtags or they may not have time to tag a post.

One thing to note about manual searches – you will not get updates for future disasters, only things that are happening now or in the past. Next, we’ll show you the power of Twitter alerts for monitoring disasters.

Twitter Alerts for Disaster Response Teams

Using Twitter’s advanced search mechanism is a powerful tool for any team. However, it requires a member of your team to manually set up the searches. Every time you want to do another search, you’ll have to manually enter it again (and again). This is a terrible solution for a disaster response situation – you don’t know when you need to search and you may lose valuable time if you’re not set up to receive alerts as they come in.

Setting up alerts for disasters is very similar to searching twitter for disasters. You use similar terms that you will geo-locate, and simply add an email where you want the alerts to go to.

Here’s an example of some data from one of our Twilert customers who is monitoring Twitter for disasters and weather. As you can see, they’ve got relevant terminology that is geo-targeted to the coverage area of their business. As you can see, this customers twitter alert strategy has helped their business get updated on over 100,000 potential disaster response opportunities!

Twitter Alerts for Disaster Response
Twitter Alerts for Disaster Response

This Twilert user has set up Twitter alerts for tropical storms in Thailand – over 50,000 tweets have been sent to this user’s inbox

Tropical storm twitter alerts

Automate Twitter Alerts for Disaster Response

If your response team does not have a social media alert strategy in place, then you need to address this as soon as possible. If your team has a strategy but is using slow or antiquated methods like manually entering twitter searches then we can help automate that process for you. When you automate your alerting system, you free up valuable resources that can be used for higher level response tasks.

Our Twilert product has been used by over 27,000 customers over the past 5 years including disaster response teams, weather monitoring solutions, social media monitoring, and much more. We will get you started with your disaster response campaigns on Twitter. For a small fee, we can even provide concierge onboarding to set up individual alerts – we want you to get the maximum benefit from your alerts. To set that up, email us: [email protected]

If you want to just try the tool out yourself right now, we have a free trial of our professional product. You can try out the full-featured application for 30 days risk-free.

Start Your Free Disaster Response Alert Campaign Here