Social media spotlight: Twitter shuts down Calgary Police Dept account amid flood emergency
The benefits of social media as a disaster response tool have been well documented, so when devastating floods hit Canada’s southern Alberta, leading to the evacuation of nearly 75,000 people, Calgary Police Department (CPD) took to Twitter, updating frantically with news and updates, plus safety tips and advice.
Then this happened:
The CPD hit its daily tweet limit and was suspended for the rest of the night. Updates came to a grinding halt, and one of the department’s constables, Jeremy Shaw, had to use his personal account to continue live tweeting (of course, those relying on CPD’s updates had to hear of this move through word of tweet, since the CPD was unable to inform its followers itself).
Shaw tweeted Twitter directly to ask for the CPD account to be reinstated, and it was, over two hours later. Not a long time in the grand scheme of things, but during a civil emergency every second counts, and an absence of information for two hours could well mean make or break for many.
Twitter is fast becoming the customer service portal of choice for consumers, and indeed many brands. To be sure, this is a feature Twitter touts to its business community, but perhaps it needs to reassess its own response strategies before it preaches to others about theirs.