Fort Bend County Office of Emergency Management Uses Twitter

9 01 2010

The Fort Bend County Office of Emergency Management (OEM) utilizes various methods for communicating with the public.  As noted on our web site, Fort Bend County OEM’s “role of educating the public and disseminating emergency information means we want to be sending information in ways that the public wants to receive, as much as it makes sense.  Increasingly, people are  using Social Media to receive information on a daily basis. ”  Our Office recognizes this trend and we have developed a presence on various Social Media sites where citizens can interact freely with us.

One of the most popular sites is Twitter; an online short messaging service. It works much like text-messages, updates are limited for 140 characters, and can be SMS’d (Text messaged) to and from your mobile phone. It can also be updated via the web, an instant messenger program, and numerous desktop applications.  OEM has a Twitter account here: http://twitter.com/fbcoem, and we use it to post emergency information, updates and alerts to the public, in addition to promoting preparedness and community awareness. Most of our updates are very short (like this H1N1 update).

In addition to posting information, we use an application called TweetDeck to monitor what’s going on in the community. During the Pecan Grove Gas Well Blowout we tweeted updates, and replied to community members who mentioned us in their Tweets. We did the same thing during the recent winter weather events.

So, how can you use Twitter to communicate with us?  Lach Mullen is the OEM staff person who leads our efforts to effectively use Social Media and he explains that 1) For starters, follow us on Twitter, 2) After that, let us know you’re here by sending us a message. If you’d like, you can turn on Device Updates on your mobile phone and our updates will come to you as text messages; 3) After that, please feel free to reply to our tweets to ask us a question, and re-tweet our messages to your followers. If you find something you think we should know about, send us an @reply and we’ll see it; and 4) take a look at the folks we follow. We get a lot of good information from FEMA and other local response partners through Twitter, so there may be some interesting people and agencies there for you too.

Never use Twitter, or any other social media service, to report emergencies.  In an emergency situation, always dial 9-1-1 for help!

If you ever have any questions about the use of Social Media by the Fort Bend County Office of Emergency Management, please feel free to contact us at 281-342-6185 and ask for Lach Mullen.  Or, of course, send us a message on Twitter!

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