Terrorist threats will now be posted to Facebook and Twitter. Sometimes. When appropriate.
The Department of Homeland Security has announced that one way they will inform the public of terror alerts is by using social media. They will only bother with the biggies – Facebook and Twitter.
Take the word to the people, where the people spend their time. What do you think? Read more from the Associated Press article here.
Personally, I have a lot of questions.
Overall, I think it is potentially a good idea. AND it needs to be carefully planned. Otherwise it will nuts. Or invisible.
First question: How? Here’s what I mean. On Facebook I get updates from friends in my newsfeed. Do I need to be a friend of Homeland Security to get that update? (I’d hope they would consider me a friend without my opting in.)
Maybe there will be an update window pop open as soon as I log into Facebook:
“Please read this important message from the Dept. of Homeland Security: Terror Alert Elevated. Travelers through U.S. airports are asked to be extra vigilant from May 5-6. Click here to tell your friends.”
Do you suppose it will pop up on my phone when I open my Facebook mobile app? Hmm…
Now Twitter. Do I need to follow @HomelandSecurity so I get the tweet? Problem #1 – That user name doesn’t exist. People use it; they just type it in. But it isn’t anyone’s account.
@DHSJournal exists, and it is a verified account for Department of Homeland Security. The account has 32,698 followers. But honestly, if I saw a tweet like “@DHSJournal Travelers be cautious in US airports May 2-4” I don’t think it would register with me as a terror alert. Maybe they could let @LadyGaga know. She has 9,489,232 followers. That way her people could talk to the people.
The other thing is, we’ve seen hoaxes on Twitter. Big ones. Remember the boy who supposedly floated away in a homemade aircraft. The one that looked like a Jiffy Pop pan? I sure hope Twitter execs are in on how this is going to work.
So far I haven’t seen any details about how it will work. I’ve got my fingers crossed they are working on that.
Do you have any ideas on how to do this in an effective way? Drop me a note in the comments section.