Thursday, March 10, 2011


Tsunami tweets from everywhere EXCEPT our own Pacific Tsunami Warning Center

by Larry Geller

A veritable tsunami of tweets including hashtag #Hawaii started arriving at 8:06 p.m. to spread the word that the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center had put Hawaii on a tsunami watch due to an 8.8 magnitude earthquake in Japan. The tweets are still coming in at a furious pace.

But not one tweet from the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center itself. I checked with them a few months ago and learned that they have no intention to tweet. Their first posted report was at 7:56 p.m., they could have tweeted at about the same time and reached tens of thousands of people (or more!).

Why? Why do they refuse?

Some people will not be listening to the radio or watching TV. But they will have their cell phones and could receive a tweet.

It’s free. It could save lives. Why are they not tweeting when appropriate? Ljke, NOW.

Maybe I’m answering my own question. Hundreds of tweets are flooding in even if the luddites in Ewa Beach refuse to join the club.

Hey, folks at the PTWC and state civil defense as well—we’re listening, how about joining the Twitter revolution?

Update: Ok, so PTWC info is “intergovernmental.” So, where are tweets from Hawaii Civil Defense?
Tweets report sirens sounding in Honolulu, but where I am, haven’t heard any yet, will pay better attention. Are the sirens working? There used to be a long list of sirens in need of repair.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons license.


Duh, maybe -- just maybe -- the weather service and civil defense people were busy doing their jobs, which I would imagine kept them pretty busy, given the potential for a real disaster. It's not like they themselves needed to tweet anything whatsoever. A gazillion other tweeters spread the word as fast as the government people could have. In a state where almost everything government-run is defective, you should be commending the federal, state and county officials for the excellent job they did. Everybody got warned. Nobody got hurt.

Sending tweets ought to be part of their job, IMHO, nor does it take much time. Deaf people don't hear sirens, but they do check messages that come in to their phones. People not watching TV or radio can be alerted. Instead of UH students getting the word late, they'd get it instantly.

In fact, it's one of the easiest ways to get the word out.

If a deaf person had to follow the gazzilion, the message would get lost. They can follow only what's important to them, including @PTWC if only they would tweet.

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