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Tweet-out the word: How agencies are dispersing information

Tweet-out the word: How agencies are dispersing informationIf you haven’t heard of Twitter by now, you’ll want to get up-to-speed and quick! Having grown to over 46 million users, “Twitterers” represent approximately 28% of those who are connected online and the number is increasing exponentially. A tool for social interaction and microblogging, Twitter has become the preeminent source to reach people quickly.
How does that apply to you? Well, several government agencies have jumped on the Twitter bandwagon, using it as a platform to distill time-sensitive information. A recent article by Matt Williams, GovTech.com’s assistant editor, details the relevancy of Twitter for agencies. He states, “When a commuter train derailed Sept. 12, 2008, in Chatsworth, CA., killing dozens and injuring hundreds, the LAFD (Los Angeles Fire Department) tweeted several times to update the public about rescue operations. And citizens near a wildfire in Griffith Park in 2007 tweeted to the LAFD about wind direction and smoldering hot spots, which helped fire fighters control the 800-acre blaze.”
In addition to the LAFD, these other government agencies have also created Twitter accounts. Check them out to get ideas for your own tweets:

That’s just a small taste of the possibilities. Want to get involved? Consider these ideas:

  • Inform: Want to update the media on immediate news stories or send press releases to your consumers? Tweet your news and keep the public aware. You could even pass out racecar shaped pens that read, “Keeping you up-to-speed with Twitter!”
  • Make aware: Even more sensitive than news stories, emergency information is a good fit for Twitter. Those following you will have immediate knowledge of any and all urgent or life-threatening circumstances. Try sending members of your community a first aid kit or personal alarm with your agency’s Twitter username or address — making your public aware of the steps you’re taking to keep them safe.
  • Connect: Are you craving insight and tips from innovative leaders in your area of expertise? Follow and be followed — connect with influential people by using Twitter. It may be easier than calling or e-mailing. Try involving more people by sending key ring lights that read “Find me on Twitter!”
  • Monitor: Checking-out tweets enables you to observe the public’s thoughts and ideas concerning your agency. You also have the opportunity to respond quickly and directly to both concerns as well as praises. Send an electronic game to thank those who provide feedback and “keep you on top of your game.”
  • Be genuine: Twitter gives you the power to demonstrate your authenticity and transparency, which, according to Technosailor blogger Aaron Brazell, is key to inspiring trust. “Brand is controlled by customers,” Brazell said. “If customers don’t trust a company, their brand is useless.”

By creating a Twitter account, you’re showing the public that you’re willing to take every opportunity to keep them informed. For more information or how to set up a Twitter account, visit www.twitter.com.

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