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back to article Americans demand Twitter-watching police

Americans expect their emergency services to respond to postings on their web sites and Twittered messages, but more than half would give them a call just to make sure. A study carried out by the American Red Cross (pdf), and picked up by Daily Wireless, found that in an emergency Americans are increasingly willing to use social …

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Pint

Natural selection

Please can all you twitter users make your emergency calls to the police and other services via your twitter posts.... please, please, please !!!

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Welcome

@jeremy3

Yes!

but don't stop there. Medicines and food. Here in the US, twitter just bought the US Post Office and the Internal Revenue Service, so all you have to do is leave a tweet for Congress and they'll send someone by to pick up the money.

Do remember to ask Google for money when you tweet them to send beer.

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FAIL

Perhaps you might read the fine print?

What the author seems to miss is that the question about using social media to contact "emergency services" was specifically phrased to include the Red Cross and FEMA, not the police. Why does this distinction matter? Because FEMA and the Red Cross are mobilized for large scale disasters, not a local mugging. It is NOT unreasonable for these agencies to keep an eye on alternate reporting channels during a flood, earthquake, blizzard, whatever.

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I have no idea...

...who downvoted your post. Presumably someone that doesn't want facts to get in the way of the usual 'lol twitter is crap' postings. I swear, the average Twitter user actually spends less time using the site than others spend telling everyone that they *don't* use it.

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Stop

Just how...

... are a group of people that have real things to do, such as saving lives and managing disaster relief, supposed to "keep an eye" on "alternate reporting channels", sifting through the dross for real information? If the existing, perfectly good methods of communication which can be directed at the appropriate agencies, such as telephone, don't work then these other waffle methods aren't going to, because the infrastructure isn't there.

Posting things about a current disaster on social networking sites is like writing a letter to a newspaper ...

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Facebook status update: Being mugged LOL WTF OMG

As a matter of interest, what is the collective noun for a group of gobshites?

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Happy

A shower...

At least that's what I've always been given to understand.

There's also a gang of bastards.

Those are taken, you'll have to use your imagination for a group of twitterers.

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Anonymous Coward

I quite like 'gaggle'

The post is required, and must contain letters.

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Happy

Re: group of twitterers

You're using the wrong noun there. The correct one is twats, therefore the collective noun is "bunch".

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Joke

how about

a Jobs (of Hipsters)

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Anonymous Coward

Twitterarti?

Twitterists? Twitterers?

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Happy

Ermmm

"a shower a of bastids", I believe.

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But it works!

http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2009/09/07/2678945.htm

"The 10- and 12-year-old girls updated a Facebook status to say they were lost in a drain on Honeypot Road at Hackham in Adelaide's southern suburbs on Sunday night."

Twitdangle?

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Pirate

bleh

really? my stupid fellow Americans want Big Brother to be actively monitoring their drivelous rantings on websites just in case they need emergency assistance? God, we are becoming such a nation of pussies, always expecting somebody else to "take care of things" for us so we can continue vacuously pursuing the meaningless activities we call "life". What's the saying about trading a little liberty for safety? I guess most of them never heard of that, since Ben Franklin didn't have a Twatter account.

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Joke

Have you ...

... checked @PoorRichard ?

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Flame

Let's not let facts get in the way of a good rant

The study, if you bother to read it (as the author of this article and/or the headline writer obviously couldn't be bothered to do) does NOT suggest the people polled expect the authorities to be monitoring social websites. The DO suggest that in cases of an area-wide emergency, when an organization such as FEMA or the Red Cross HAS established a social media site, that MAYBE THEY OUGHT TO BE LOOKING AT IT. Think Katrina.

So how would YOU answer this question (taken from the actual study):

"If someone you knew needed urgent help in an area-wide emergency, would you try to request help in any of the following ways? (Percent indicates those who definitely or probably would.)"

Sure you'd call on the phone; but would you stop there, and if you didn't does that make you an idiot for trying to use twitter or whatever to get help?

The specific question where responders said they SHOULD be monitoring social websites was:

"Imagine that you are on a social media site for an emergency response organization such as FEMA or the American Red Cross and you see a recent post that includes an urgent request for help. To what extent do you agree or disagree with the following statements? (Percentages indicate Strongly Agree and Agree)"

Surprisingly a lot of people thought that if FEMA puts up a website like this they ought to look at it now and again, but only a slightly smaller number of folk said they'd call FEMA directly, if they saw such a posting.

How about this part of the report:

"In some areas, older and young respondents agree

18% would try to use digital media to ask for help in an emergency  if they could not reach 911

4% would use text messaging to ask for help in an emergency if  they could not reach 911"

Note the "if they could not reach 911".

I was stuck in San Francisco after the Loma Prieta quake; I would have used any and all means at hand to try to get information out to whoever could recieve it, if it meant getting help to the right spots. I also would have used it to let friends and family know I was OK.

What you and the author seem to gloss over is the context of this survey, which is regional/area disasters, not normal police activity. The title is "Social Media in Disasters and  Emergencies"

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Pirate

title

"Sure you'd call on the phone; but would you stop there, and if you didn't does that make you an idiot for trying to use twitter or whatever to get help?"

Well, yes, I'd say it does. If someone needs help, help them. Don't go wasting valuable time firing up a computer, connecting to the internet, logging into twatter, then blathering to the local fire department's twatter page in hopes that they might be monitoring it. I'd hope that in a real emergency, they'd have boots on the ground, not boots on the desk checking twatter. And that's not even considering the question of how are they going to know that any info they receive via twatter or facebook is legitimate? Besides which, neither FEMA or the Red Cross are really first responders, so any "urgent requests" for help should be sent to the first responders - ie - police or fire.

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Dead Vulture

Only 16 per cent would expect Facebook to advise them on the state of the encroaching zombie hoard

Its mine I tell you! Mine....

Oh you meant horde...

Gravestone for the buried treas.. I mean zombies.

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Joke

I can't help it, with a Reg comment like that, I have to bite (your brains) ...

@"Only 16 per cent would expect Facebook to advise them on the state of the encroaching zombie hoard."

Ok so 16 per cent would want us to visit Facebook to decide if we are in the midst of a zombie invasion?!...

o.O

Wow, talk about zombie invasion false positives!. :)

After reading so many brain dead comments on Facebook, how do you know or filter out the zombie invasion false positives?! ;)

uummm (braiinnsss) ummm ... was going to go with a Terminator icon, as its the nearest they have to a zombie icon, but then I decided to use the joke icon, because otherwise the zombies wouldn't know I was joking. ;)

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Gold badge

What I think *is* reasonable..

was one county (here in Iowa) that had it set up so people could text 911 for help, instead of dialing. Do I think everyone should necessarily have it? No, but at least I wouldn't think it's excessively stupid if they did -- there are situations where someone doesn't want to speak but could text (either the "bad guy" is still on-site, or they are injured so they can't speak but can text, or perhaps someone is deaf or mute -- there's a teletype relay service for the deaf & mute users now, but this way they could call for help directly instead of going through the relay service.)

As for FEMA, or police, or whoever, just randomly monitoring Facebook -- seems unreasonable to me. It's like going to google and clicking "I'm feeling lucky", and seeing if any emergency happened to come up -- completely unreasonable. Twitter was a very good source of information for the most up-to-date information for instance with the recent unrest in Iran, i.e. it might be good for up-to-date information about an already known natural disaster, but just trolling around randomly hoping to get the earliest info on a new disaster? Forget about it. If there were facebook pages or twitter feeds that were meant for news, I could see watching them, just as they may watch the old media news (newspaper, TV, etc.) But that's the extent of it.

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FAIL

Can Someone Think About .... ?

I suggest the NSA will be tasked with sucking all streams of all Americans right from the DSL exchange to FtMeade, check for emergency messages and automagially task local police/firebrigade and the Disaster Drones (FEMA).

All Americans are required to have a little kernel plugin post their current crypto keys to FtMeade every 5 seconds, so that all https emergency messages can be analyzed, too.

Ya know, it is all in your best interest and NSA promises to use the data only for Good Purposes. We swear, we would not fsck with you; Zeriously !

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Big Brother

there is more technology than simply trawling

Obviously it would be bizarre for police to monitor twitter for hashtags such as #emergency #911 etc to see whether they are in the local area;

However there are many people putting up aggregation websites that read the public feeds then add danger level overlays to google maps for instance, it would not be asking so much for the police dispatcher to have that in front of them would it?

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Linux

Substitute Freaking Idiots for "Americans" in subject line

Who, in their right mind, would expect twitter to be the source for emergency notifications? They would have to be mental and emotional zombies who live out their miserable lives sitting on a toilet with a laptop in their lap and a cooler full of foodstuffs nearby. This is about the dumbest thing I have ever read. Must have been a very slow news day.

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Heart

good post

As a matter of interest, what is the collective noun for a group of gobshites?

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Coat

eh

"what is the collective noun for a group of gobshites?"

The French?

Or perhaps I misunderstood the question.

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I agree this idea

In some ways, I suggest the NSA will be tasked with sucking all streams of all Americans right from the DSL exchange to FtMeade, check for emergency messages and automagially task local police/firebrigade and the Disaster Drones (FEMA).

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