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The Emerging Trend: Tweeting 911 in an Emergency

               The human race is ingenious. As new social-media technology emerges, the human race finds more unique ways of using it in time of disaster and unrest. What started as a way to keep in touch with friends has found its way as a centerpiece of information distribution where there would otherwise be none. Darwin would have been proud to see how modern mass-communication technology has evolved. The upsurge of recent uses of social-media networking sites and the role they play in critical information distribution are but a sign of the times and an evolution of genius as a society.

                 The most recent indication of specific global information distribution evolution comes from the country of Iran. In spite of the central government of Iran’s attempt to halt Internet interaction, Iranian citizens were still able to access social networks to spread the word about unrest and persecution in the country during a recent population uprising. The citizens of Iran purposely crashed the governmental web servers which blocked general access to the social-media giants Twitter and FaceBook. As a direct result of protestor “tweets” and posts, the world was able to see the dark truth about how the Iranian government treats it citizens.

                 September 2009 brought torrential rains and flooding to the residents of suburbia outside the city of Atlanta, Georgia.  Temporally trapped and stranded at school because of the rising water, a 14-year old girl found a way to communicate with her parents even though she could not call out from her cell phone. The girl accessed the Internet via her cell phone, logged onto FaceBook and posted a short note stating she was stranded at school. Her parents were notified and the situation ended happily.

                 How can this benefit you? Modern technology being imperfect means there just might be times when making a phone call for help when you need it most simply won’t happen. In many cases, you can still access the Internet and social networking sites via the small browser on your cell phone. This is a fantastic “plan B” to communicate with loved ones even if you can’t call them directly. Here’s how you set “plan B” up:

  • Register with Twitter.

Register with Twitter at twitter.com and create an account. Have your family and friends do the same. Once registered, you can start “following” your family and friends “tweets”. Have them “follow” yours as well. If you get put in a position where you can’t speak, or can’t get through on the phone lines, you can relay short bursts of important information via “tweeting” each other on the Internet.

  • Register with FaceBook

Register with the social-media giant FaceBook at facebook.com and create an account. Place minimal but basic information in your profile. Once your account has been established have your family and friends do the same. On FaceBook, become “friends” with everyone you want to stay in touch with and have them become “friends” with you. Unlike Twitter, you can post detailed information about your situation using FaceBook.

Social-media technology is growing so fast that the United States government is seriously considering developing a private media network for members of the House and Senate. This increasingly popular and efficient way of information dissemination can potentially save your life or the life of a loved one.