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29 August 2011

How Twitter makes everyone a SAWDIS Observer


The idea of everyone becoming a weather and disaster observer and  news reporter in the age of the Internet is not new. Twitter is the current trend in crisis and disaster management world wide, however South Africa seem to lack behind when it comes to reporting severe weather and disasters via Twitter in this country. This maybe as a result of the lack or scale of such events, knowledge or the withholding of information syndrome by some roll players. However there is always hope that this will change one day.   There is  a profound change in the way weather and disaster news are spread in South Africa by the general public and it is becoming more obvious and relevant every day with severe weather threatening certain parts of South Africa.  The public wants to inform and be informed.  To long has information been kept from the public in the past.

I write this as Twitter is filled with information about Hurricane Irene in the US

Twitter plus mobile phones more than any other element of the Internet except for websites themselves, has revolutionized how people get weather and disaster news. It simply makes it possible for almost anyone, anywhere, at anytime to know what is going on in the remotest parts of our inhabited universe. People want to share weather and disaster news, and when people are impacted by something going on, the need for weather and disaster information becomes as essential as food and water.

This is why the SAWDIS need you to become a weather and disaster observer and to create your own Twitter account. Twitter is ideal for emergency and crisis communications.

Here are a few key points:

- Twitter is a faster way to find out what’s happening world wide.

- Twitter has made the news, weather and disaster cycle much, much faster and accessible.

- Twitter makes everyone a journalist, broadcaster, weather and disaster observer etc.

- Twitter is a faster way to send information about weather and disasters.

- Twitter is easy to use.

- Twitter is free.

- Twitter messages can be send using a wide variety of electronic mediums.

The reality of the Twitter effect isn’t just that the SAWDIS can now talk directly to South African citizens. The SAWDIS need tweeters(the public) to talk to the SAWDIS. Twitter is an interactive and real-time information network.

At the heart of Twitter are small bursts of information called Tweets. Each Tweet is 140 characters in length, but don’t let the small size fool you, you can share a lot with a little space. Connected to each Tweet is a rich details pane that provides additional information, deeper context and embedded media. You can tell your story within your Tweet, or you can think of a Tweet as the headline, and use the details pane to tell the rest with photos, videos and other media content. See Twitter in action at SAWDIS and SAWDIS1.

The SAWDIS would like to encourage viewers of the SAWDIS Blog to open a Twitter account. It is easy!! After you opened an account send weather and disaster tweets to the SAWDIS. We are nearing the 2011/2012 Thunderstorm Season in South Africa. Use Twitter to inform the SAWDIS of thunderstorms approaching your area, send info and photos about hail, wind, storm damage etc.

South Africa we need to show the world that we can also use the latest technology successfully in South Africa to keep our people informed. The SAWDIS is looking forward to engage with you on Twitter. The SAWDIS believe that the open exchange of information can have a positive global impact. Every day the SAWDIS is inspired by stories of people using Twitter to help make South Africa and the World a safer place in unexpected ways.

- SAWDIS