Feeds

Americans demand Twitter-watching police

But almost half assume they don't

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

Americans expect their emergency services to respond to postings on their web sites and Twittered messages, but more than half would give them a call just to make sure.

A study carried out by the American Red Cross (pdf), and picked up by Daily Wireless, found that in an emergency Americans are increasingly willing to use social networks to find out what's going on, and expect the emergency services to keep an eye out too, but while they're happy to get information from the internet they're less keen to share what they know of current events.

Just over half of the thousand or so Americans interviewed would bother mentioning, on their Facebook page or similar, a flooded road or failed power lines. Less than half would talk about a car crash, or a major traffic jam, which is surprising given the twaddle that normally fills such social channels - one might imagine that they'd be keen for something interesting to say.

That's not to say that emergency situations aren't written about. After the fact, when the scribblers can relay their own experiences and opinions, then the wires light up. Three quarters of those surveyed had written about emergencies on Facebook, while 22 per cent had blogged about them and almost the same number had Twittered.

During an emergency Americans turn to old faithful - the TV, with local radio as a second source. Only 16 per cent would expect Facebook to advise them on the state of the encroaching zombie horde.

When it comes to summoning help the situation is much the same - even if repeated calls to 911 had failed most Americans would just phone the local police/fire station/hospital. Only 18 per cent would turn to the internet, and almost the same number would walk to find assistance.

But that's not to say they don't expect those emergency services to keep an eye on their web sites and Twitter feeds. A whacking 69 per cent feel that the services should monitor postings on their own web pages, just in case, though almost half of those questioned assumed that no such monitoring was currently taking place.

Following an emergency only 28 per cent of those using social networks would "definitely" use the service to let people know they were OK, another 21 per cent "probably would", but 16 per cent "definitely would not", which comes as some surprise.

So next time you mates fail to update following an fire/flood/earthquake, don't assume they've burnt/drowned/fallen to the centre of the Earth, they might have just decided that some things are better said than posted on Facebook. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Same old iPad? NO. The new 'soft SIMs' are BIG NEWS
AppleSIM 'ware to allow quick switch of carriers
Arab States make play for greater government control of the internet
Nerds told to get lost in last-minute power grab bid at UN meeting
Brits: Google, can you scrape 60k pages from web, pleeease
Hey, c'mon Choc Factory, it's our 'right to be forgotten'
Of COURSE Stephen Elop's to blame for Nokia woes, says author
'Google did have some unique propositions for Nokia'
It's even GRIMMER up North after MEGA SKY BROADBAND OUTAGE
By 'eck! Eccles cake production thrown into jeopardy
Mobile coverage on trains really is pants
You thought it was just *insert your provider here*, but now we have numbers
Don't mess with Texas ('cos it's getting Google Fiber and you're not)
A bit late, but company says 1Gbps Austin network almost ready to compete with AT&T
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.