In the wake of the Virginia Tech Tragedy, many questions about crisis communication have been raised in campuses across the country and the world.
Today, on u-webd listserv, a few Web professionals discussed possible text-messaging solutions. One of them (I didn’t get a chance to ask him if I could share his name) announced to the list that his institution was working on a Twitter clone using the campus email user credentials.
Haven’t heard about Twitter yet?
Here’s how Wikipedia defines this new application that has caught the tech blogosphere like fire for the past few months:
Twitter is a social networking and micro-blogging service that allows users to send “updates” (text-based posts, up to 140 characters long) via SMS, instant messaging, the Twitter website or an application such as Twitterrific. These updates are displayed on the user’s profile page and also instantly delivered to other users who have signed up to receive them. The sender can restrict delivery to members of his circle of friends, or allow delivery to everybody (which is the default). Users can receive updates via the Twitter website, instant messaging, SMS, RSS, or through an application.
Up until now, Twitter has mostly been used by A-list bloggers such as Steve Rubel (with more or less success in Rubel’s case).
However, it might be worth adding Twitter to your institution’s crisis communication plan.
Obviously, I’m not advising to only use Twitter, but it could provide a good-enough temporary solution before you can settle for a more definitive application to distribute your emergency alerts via text messages, IM, RSS and on the Web to campus community members, parents and friends.
What do you think? Anybody already using Twitter?