As parts of the city submerged in #MumbaiRains and the situation was severe enough for authorities to declare a public holiday, Twitter released an official advisory on how to use the platform in times of distress.
Twitter has become an important platform for authorities to disseminate information in real time and for people in distress to complain and seek help. There have been many instances where people have made accounts just to express their anguish and reach out to the authorities. In such a scenario, it becomes pertinent for people to express the issue in a crisp and clear manner for it makes it easier for authorities to understand the issue and help as quickly as possible. To help with this, Twitter India has released an advisory on how to use the platform effectively during #MumbaiRains.
The release lists out 10 Twitter tips for users to effectively communicate on Twitter during a crisis and help out in relief operations.
1. Keep your messages clear and simple. Be consistent in your language. Reinforce the messages you are sending out. If you are surfacing new information from the ground, quote your sources to lend credibility to your Tweet.
3. Verify the information you are sharing or Retweeting. Ensure the source is credible.
4. Do NOT spread unverified messages received via social media channels, private group chats, or SMS. They can cause a lot of confusion and wasted effort.
5. Tweets with a clear Call-to-Action are more effective. Clearly stating how people can help by Retweeting, and donating, for instance, are powerful. Use media cards, graphics and visuals to collate information into one image.
6. Follow agencies involved with crisis relief so that your Twitter timeline will be full of updated Tweets with the latest information.
7. Prioritize needs, resources and locations which need help. Use your network and tag people you think would be interested in sharing this information with their own networks.
8. If you are joining the rescue effort, tag the disaster relief authorities with the location of anyone who needs rescuing or any people/corporates/NGOs who can help with the relief efforts.
9. After a rescue or relief Tweet has been addressed, it’s generally a good practice to Retweet your own Tweet with an update saying a particular rescue has been conducted and thank the people who did it. This is because the rescue may be complete but people may still Retweet your old Tweets, not realising it has been resolved.
10. If you’re joining a relief effort, know what you are going to do and with whom. Keep your focus on what issue needs to be solved and create a plan of action. Identify location needs; resource raising; and collaborators and partners on the ground.
The release by Twitter India also mentions that to help relevant government authorities and institutions on effectively managing their response mechanism, they have shared a disaster management toolkit with them. This includes best practices for sharing information with users and managing relief and rescue efforts on the platform during disasters.