Allegheny County uses Twitter, Facebook to report on conditions in the storm
By Bobby Kerlik
Published: Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012, 12:01 a.m.
When the superstorm toppled trees and power lines in Allegheny County, the Twitterverse was among the first to know.
County Executive Rich Fitzgerald's spokeswoman, Amie Downs, posted about 140 tweets during the storm to let followers know about everything from a tree down across a road on Washington Pike in South Fayette to flooded basements in Millvale and Elizabeth.
The communication went both ways.
“We had people contacting us through Facebook and Twitter, and if we didn't have that information, (I'd) give it to operators. We received so much feedback and information,” Downs said. “This is something we talked about doing previously before the storm.”
Downs was at the county's 911 center until about 2 a.m. Tuesday posting to Twitter and started again about 7 a.m. She watched storm-related calls come in on a computer screen and posted relevant ones for public consumption.
Downs tweeted simultaneously under the Twitter names for the county, @Allegheny_Co, and Fitzgerald, @ACE_Fitzgerald.Fitzgerald said this was the first time county officials used social media to update the public in nearly real-time.
“Amie was literally sending it out as it was coming in,” Fitzgerald said.
Fayette County emergency officials, Duquesne Light, West Penn Power and the town of Ocean City, Md., were among other entities that used Twitter to provide public updates.
Sue Griffith, public information officer for the Fayette County Emergency Management Agency, gave nearly 40 storm-related updates on Twitter — @FCEMA911 — and Facebook. She said she's been using social media for more than two years to get updates out.
“It's helping us reach a bigger audience. A lot of people re-tweet the information. There were friends of friends pushing out the information we had,” Griffith said.
Bobby Kerlik is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7886 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Father-son funeral directors lead community
- Keisel might be at end of Steelers career
- Clairton Meals on Wheels puts new van in immediate service
- Penguins’ leads evaporate in loss to Sharks
- Google barge departs San Francisco to new home
- Westmoreland man’s walk in Niagara Falls State Park wasn’t allowed, police say
- Neighbor in East Liberty sisters’ slayings may be part of murder-for-hire case
- Judge to Cook Township drug suspect: Get new friends
- McKeesport middle school student struck by dump truck dies in hospital
- After long layoff, Frazier, Mt. Pleasant girls set for PIAA tournament
- New Pirates pitcher Eppley brings special delivery to team’s staff