posted on Dec, 14 2010 @ 10:43 AM
Let me post another view of this which hasn't been presented here.
Scientists and law enforcement ARE using social networks to help assess damage in emergencies. In the most recent case I know of (the California
explosion that destroyed around 170 homes and left at least one person dead: mystateline.com...
), cops and emergency
personnel used tweets to find out where the worst damage was and decide quickly which roads needed traffic control and where people might be helping
folks who were badly hurt.
This turned out to be valuable (the reports have been in journals rather than in the mainstream press) and scientists and law enforcement are looking
into this to see how they can ask people to assist in emergencies.
They couldn't have done it with phone calls -- too many calls by frantic people, not enough operators in the phone rooms to handle the call volume.
Directed tweets gave them a better picture of what was going on and enabled them to start getting people to places in time to help.
I've relied on tweets from the Gulf Oil crisis to give me some idea of how to map the data for the Audubon Society.
Now... I don't know who gets this data or how it's passed along, but this kind of information can save lives, homes, animals, and more. I don't
know that this app is the right one for it, but the idea of being able to message if you see a problem is not a bad one.
So... that's another side of the issue (and one that I've used in research) which you might want to consider. Pharmacy-spammers and sleazeballs
mine Twitter to spam you, advertisers mine Twitter and other sites to target ads to you. Social media has a lot of interesting uses and a lot of
interesting data. I don't mind them looking for emergency information (particularly on a voluntary tweet thread that I knew they'd be paying
They can go ahead and monitor my tweets, too. Having been on the nets (Compuserve and later) since 1980, I never put up anything I wouldn't want
printed in the national newspaper.