Friday, 2 August 2013

Do we need a Twitter 999/911/112

Last week I became embroiled in an incident that played out on Twittter.
The details are not relevant here but suffice to say someone needed help and many wanted to give it.
It struck me then, and it strikes me now that there are a number of ways of taking a crisis from social media and getting Realtime support to resolve it

An obvious approach is 999 or 101 and contact the police fire ambulance Mountain rescue etc
The next could be just to go round and sort it yourself.
Another approach might be to exchange as much information as possible and hope someone online picks up the problem.

Others may chose not to seek help and perhaps just to watch and do nothing or just make abusive comments.

So the question I put to European colleagues last week was how should we manage this. I have already stated that a "twitter" squad is probably not required. After all Social Media is that, social not corporate. It may be privately owned but it acts as social space available to all subject to rules that are either company enforced or socially enforced. This is overlaid with legality as is every situation

So what could we do to make it easier to identify who needs help, why and get it to them.

Firstly there are barriers of confidentiality, balanced against urgency, there is a need to ensure that those who can help have the information they need to do the job. There is also the confidence that people have in the agencies or individuals concerned. I am not so naive to believe that every citizen holds all authorities in the highest esteem.

Would a simple way be to create a @999/@911 account that responders could follow, perhaps with a national identifier, eg @999UK and perhaps controlled access maybe

Over the next few weeks I will consult with colleagues on this issue and if you have read this and have a view please let me know by email, tweet or otherwise.

Thank you

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