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Verify Times Two

October 4, 2010 Leave a comment
For verification of information, I recommend this guideline inside and outside of Twitter – ‘Verify x2’.  This means, for any critical news, find 2 separate reliable sources or 1 authenticated source to confirm the information.  Be sure those 2 sources do not lead back to a single source.  Here is a better way to define it; 

There are several types of sources

1) Official Source:  Example: USGS is official source for the USA (but not outside the USA)

2) Trusted Source:  A source that has been proven to be reliable and trustworthy for the pertinent event (example: CNN, disaster responders)

3) Unknown Source:  A source that has not yet been provent to be reliable, but has not been proven unreliable either

4) Untrusted Source:  A source that has provided inaccurate or misleading information

Suggested Guidelines Using These Sources

1) Official source or Aid Agency – consider it authenticated (but they get it wrong too)

2) Trusted Source – consider it reliable (but they get it wrong too)

3) Mainstream media – consider it reliable (but they get it wrong too)

4) Video or photo – consider it authenticated (be sure it is not an old event)

5) 2 separate sources (known or unknown) – consider it authenticated

6) 1 separate source (known or unknown) – consider it ‘unconfirmed’

Also, don’t follow or unfollow people based on any suspicians – watch, read and attempt to determine whether the information being shared is authenticated, reliable, unreliable or outright false and then report those findings in Twitter to debunk mis-information or confirm it as fact.  It is equally important to know what is being reported inaccurately (and stop it) as it is to report what is accurate.

 As a side note – In 2010, CNN reported a Tsunami warning for Chile when there was not a Tsunami warning issued.  USGS reported an earthquake in the Atlantic near Haiti that didn’t happen.  Even official sources and mainstream media make mistakes sometimes and so will we.


Avoid making judgements on the character or intentions of any individual or organization sharing information but use caution on retweeting any individual that may have in the past was either proven to or appeared to misrepresent fact.   

Categories: Uncategorized

Are you a Tweety Bird or a Twitter Warrior

August 10, 2010 Leave a comment

Disaster 2.0 –

 Are You Helping in Twitter…Really?
Have you become an expert at fact finding emergencies in Twitter already? Tweeting isn’t being used to save lives unless it is picked up by someone in the area who is able to assist those who are in need.  Twitter is not a replacement for traditional forms of emergency reporting and response.  Here are some helpful tips on how to be more effective in Twitter during disaster response:
  1. Rescue teams and aid agencies prioritizes action based on population, criticality, ability to reach the impacted area and ability to find the people impacted.
  2. Try searching for public internet news stories on the topic – you’d be surprised how often news reports can assist in isolating and confirming impacts
  3. When reporting an incident in add contact info if available – Provide twitter user name or initial of reporter – date/time.
  4. If you are able to find the GPS location please include it along with the street address whenever possible.  Street names may have various nicknames and also building and street signs may be down in the area impacted. provides a great deal of helpful information including GPS.
  5. If you are not sure whether an incident being reported is authentic, try to confirm it before reporting it but use your instincts and when in doubt report it as ‘unconfirmed’.

Twitter Commandments

  1. Do not panic.
  2. Take a deep breath. You do not need to know it all. Do not be distracted by noise and confusion.
  3. Do No Harm.  Remember it is better to have no news than it is to have inaccurate news.
  4. Include date & time stamp for local time in the impacted location of the original posting.(sample: Aug 18 1:10pm local time #pkfloods [address], [emergency description] [contact: name of contact)  If you are retweeting a retweet of a retweet you see how this will help aid workers and first responders who are frustrated by old news and rumors. We recommend formatting your tweet using Tweak the Tweet  (
  5. Verify your source. If you do not know for sure the source is reliable – do not retweet the information. Use two reliable independent sources for major news items such as collapse of a hospital or a new field hospital. If you do not have two reliable sources then include (unconfirmed) or (unverified) in your tweet.
  6.  Verify your facts. Get facts, locations, address, specific need, number of people impacted.  Look it up on internet – the address, the news, videos, images, blogs, look it up on YouTube, Facebook, find a map, learn about the location impacted… dig deep into details, the more the better.
  7.  Listen to the experts.  You are not on the ground in the impacted area.  Use caution and reason and follow those who appear to have a ‘handle’ on how to respond in these situations.
  8. Not sure where to start? Pick one topic and stick with it. Become an expert on fielding, researching facts, news stories and providing help on specific topic.
  9. Repeat the first 3 Twitter Commandments as needed.

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Categories: Uncategorized