BETTER GEOLOCATION SERVICES
"If geolocation were more reliable on social networks, it would be possible to find posts from folks in specific areas, rather than just random people around the world talking/speculating/reposting items they think are from specific areas," wrote Sree Sreenivasan, Chief Digital Officer at Columbia University. I did come across some neat tools that made use of geotagged tweets, and Twitter Advanced Search does allow users to search by location, but these functions aren't directly helpful to people interacting with just Twitter's streaming interface on the web or through apps. Plus, not all tweets are geotagged.
@anjalimullany improved local searchability. i was frantically searching twitter for updates about my hood in NYC + my hometown in CT.— Katie Perry (@katieeperry) October 31, 2012
MORE EFFICIENT WAYS TO DONATE VIA SOCIAL MEDIAIn the comments section below, Alex Wittenberg offered an interesting idea for making mobile donations via tweets. "Twitter should allow people to tie their PayPal accounts to their twitter handles, then verified organizations (such as Red Cross, United Way) could post tweets saying "RT to automatically donate $5 to Hurricane Sandy relief efforts," wrote Wittenberg.
A BETTER WAY TO ESTABLISH OFFICIAL HASHTAGSThis was one of the most frequent suggestions I received this week. I would note that Twitter did list a number of hashtags on its blog, though that doesn't seem to have prevented confusion:
SUSPEND NORMAL PROGRAMMINGMandy Jenkins, Interactives Editor at Digital First Media, wrote that she wishes social networks would "stop sending me their regular non-emergency alerts when the area where I live is under a state of emergency."
BETTER WAYS TO KEEP FRIENDS, FAMILY, AND COLLEAGUES IN THE LOOPJenkins also wishes she had "an option on one of the major social media services to send my message along as an alert via text or phone call to a pre-selected group of people...I know there are mass messaging services out there—but this would sort of piggyback on the alert services we already use."
PROMOTED POSTSTwitter let several agencies (including the Maryland Emergency Management Agency, FEMA, the Red Cross, and the New York Mayor's Office) use promoted tweets for free during the storm. Twitter user Ian Byrne thinks networks like Facebook should follow Twitter's lead and do more to promote emergency information posts from government and relief agencies. Users can already set Twitter up to send tweets from specific accounts, mentions and other interactions to their phones via SMS—but what if users could choose to have promoted posts by government and emergency agencies texted directly to their phones during natural disasters? This could be a useful option if Internet connections gets slow.
@anjalimullany A tweet-to-SMS feature for promoted emergency info may be helpful to those not about to scroll TLs or search hashtags— trish (@brooklyn_trixx) November 4, 2012