Twitter Teams with Gov’t Agencies for Critical Alerts

Last week, Twitter announced the roll-out of their Alerts program, which will connect users to important notifications about emergencies, natural disasters, etc. FEMA, The Red Cross, and even the Dept. of Homeland Security have all teamed up with the social networking giant to bring push or text notifications to subscribers during urgent situations. International non-profits, including RED, the World Health Organization, and The Salvation Army, have also signed up for Twitter Alerts.

More than a potentially life-saving tool for Twitterers everywhere, this new Alerts program goes to show just how much of an impact that social media has on the method by which today’s generation receives their important news & information. Now, it’s just up to the agencies themselves to ensure they are able to post status updates in a timely manner; otherwise, this will all be for naught.

Signing up for the Alerts themselves, however, could use some retweaking. In the current incarnation of the program, Twitter users need to go to the Alerts page for each individual agency (the list is located here) and activate the alerts they choose. Android and iPhone users can enable Push Alerts in the native app; although, they still need to turn on notifications individually to receive them. This is bound to cause confusion and/or a low adoption rate initially, as one may think that just doing one thing or the other would suffice.

The announcement of Twitter Alerts came just one day after the company premiered its push notification system for popular tweets and accounts.