Twitter has rolled out a new feature called "Fast Follow" which should grab the attention of emergency managers and the emergency management community. In short, the feature allows any user - regardless of if they have a Twitter account or not - to begin receiving texts from any Twitter account.
OK. Probably best to try it. Using your mobile phone, send a text message to 40404 with the message of "follow coemergency" and you will begin receiving text/sms messages of the same posts we make on our COEmergency Twitter Feed on your mobile device. By doing the same with your local fire, police, town, news agencies or any Twitter account in your area from organizations that matter to you, you can now stay instantly up to speed with notifications on your phone. While many Colorado communities offer txt/email/sms alert systems, a wider and growing number of organizations maintain Twitter feeds as a part of their outreach/notification systems. This effort opens up a wider variety of options for text message notifications to help you and your family stay informed.
Obviously, like any text, you must have a capable phone and a plan that supports text messaging and be aware of the plans/costs associated with that data usage, but the concept holds great potential to help spread the word before, during and in the aftermath of a disaster.
Give it a shot. And, if you are in Colorado and curious as to which organizations in your area have local accounts, we've made a stab at compiling a list of Colorado Media, Colorado Government and Colorado Emergency Services Twitter accounts. Just look through the list, pick out the ones that matter to you and try it out! There are many great organizations in Colorado using this and other social media tools to help you stay informed and safe!