Twitter has become the go-to source of information when it comes to breaking news stories or emergency situations like a disaster or natural calamity. However, during such situations, one can get lost in all the noise that is generated on the micro blogging site.
We have seen in the past, most recently during the Boston bombing, how difficult it can become to get accurate, verified information from Twitter that could also lead to spreading of rumors and misinformation. To handle such situation, Twitter has launched Twitter Alerts that will provide users alerts from trusted sources in case of emergency situations.
Twitter is now enabling certain organizations to send out alerts via their Twitter accounts. Users can subscribe to the account’s alert feed (twitter.com/[username]/alerts) and they will receive SMS alerts as well as an alert message on their Twitter timeline with an orange bell so that they stand out from regular tweets.
Android and iPhone users will get a push notification whenever an alert tweet is issued by any of the accounts they are following on Twitter. This is similar to Lifeline feature that was introduced in Japan to warn Japanese users about calamities and get emergency help.
There are many organizations in the US, Japan and Korea that have the ability to send alerts. We hope that more organizations will enlist to the program so that people can get accurate and timely alerts in the future.