Doug Bedell — October 23, 2008, 6:55 pm

Another Boost for Twitter

We wrote the other day about Twitter, the microblog, serving as a message board for security officers who join the “Security Twits” list. But here’s another use of Twitter with broader application for continuity of operations and public safety.

The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) already updates its Twitter feed with traffic alerts and route changes for ferries. But the department is anticipating using the Web messaging service as a readily available source of information when its website is overtaxed or not available (“crashed” possibly).

  “One of the things that we’re considering if we get into an emergency situation like that, we can update  Twitter and our blog with our handheld BlackBerry or  iPhone or whatever we have. It’s a continuity of operations opportunity for us,” says a WSDOT spokesperson.

“On July 31, three major traffic incidents nearly brought the website down – it’s a very popular site for getting traffic information,” he added. “Our Web guru started ‘tweeting’ on the situation, and suddenly the number of people who were following us went from 20 to 160.” Ever since, WSDOT has been spreading the word about its Twitter feed.

The message here is that new social media tools, like Twitter, are available, but they take enterprise and promotion to bring into targeted, or broader, use by public safety or security agencies.

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