I started using Twitter a few months ago, and at first had trouble understanding how it could be of benefit to me or my family.This online site allows a maximum of 140 characters for users or “Twitterers” to post their ideas, activities and breaking news. Based on relationship, the value of their Twitters–or simple curiosity, just about anyone can “follow” anyone.
At first it mostly seemed like social chatter, with some interesting links to stories and photos. But when an earthquake rumbled through Southern California a few weeks ago, there were immediate Twitter reports. Those following Twitter probably had a better handle on what was happening than the news media. A couple of San Diego Realtors were reporting via Twitter the gentle shaking, while reports from Long Beach and Los Angeles reported something stronger.
We knew within minutes that there was likely no real damage from this quake, this time.
But what if this were the big one? What if a major hurricane hits the Southern coasts? What about tornadoes? Or terrorist attacks?
Experience has shown that in times of regional disasters, cell and telephone networks often break down from everyone calling at once. This leaves anguished families and friends worrying about the safety of their loved ones.
It might be wise to now go set up a Twitter account and encourage your friends and family to do the same. That way, you will be able to instantly check on each other via cell phone texting (dial 40404) or the internet. If you do sign up, be sure and follow me on Twitter at: RobertaMurphy
This YouTube video by David Stephenson explains how Twitter could work if San Diego were to be hit with a major disaster–and it occurs to me that we should also ask our fire, police and safety officials to set up their own Twitter accounts so that we could get official reports and updates.