Twitter has launched a system for emergency alerts, called Twitter alerts, which can help spread important news and information when other lines of communication are down. It is very important for the users to be able to receive reliable information at the times of emergency. Twitter alerts will be a new way to get accurate and important information such as public safety warnings and evacuation instructions from credible organizations during such crisis.
This system could be really useful during natural calamities or emergencies. Last year, Twitter had announced a new service called Lifeline to help Japanese users find emergency accounts during crisis. Since then they have been working on a related feature for people around the world.
These Twitter alerts are an effort in this direction. They help users to get accurate information from credible sources during emergencies natural disasters and moments when other communications services are not accessible.
Users, who sign up to receive Twitter alerts, will receive a notification directly on their phone for tweets marked as alerts from certain senders. They will be delivered via SMS in addition to a push notification on Android or ios. Alerts also appear differently on your home timeline from regular Tweets; they will be indicated with an orange bell.
A number of organizations in United States, Japan and South Korea have been authorized to send alerts, including the American Red Cross, Federal emergency Management Agency, World Health Organization and Non-Government Agencies in Japan and South Korea.
Those likely to use the alerts include Law Enforcement and Public Safety Agencies, Emergency Management Agencies, Local Governments and Private Organizations involved in disaster relief. Twitter’s Bridget Coyne said the messaging platform became a vital information source following the Japan Tsunami, in the US for the Super Storm Sandy and during Boston Bomb Attacks.
Twitter being real-time, has expanded its use for more serious matters. You can sign up to receive the alerts by going to an organization’s alerts setup page. You’ll find at twitter.com/[username]/alerts. For example – twitter.com/FEMA/alerts
If you wish to receive Alerts via text messages, enter or confirm your current phone number and activate Twitter text messaging to start receiving Alerts as text messages. If you have the official Twitter for Android or iPhone app downloaded on your phone, you will start to receive Alerts as push notifications.
Once you have an Alert set up, you can easily enable Alerts for additional organizations through their respective Alerts setup pages. Here is a full list of accounts that send Twitter Alerts.
You can just add “alerts” at the end of its Twitter url, or find it on Twitter’s list of participating organizations. Currently, a number of organizations in the U.S., Japan and Korea can send Alerts, and Twitter will expand the service to include more public institutions and NGOs around the world. As of now Twitter Alerts seem to be available Australia, South Korea, UK and US.