Twitter Commandments

Twitter Commandments

  1. Do No Harm – It is safer to share no news than to share inaccurate news.  Rumors put lives at risk.
  2. Do not Panic – You do not need to know it all
  3. Take a Deep Breath – Do not be distracted by noise and confusion
  4. Verify Source. If you do not know for sure the source is reliable – do not retweet the information. Use 2 reliable independent sources for major news 
  5. Verify Facts. Get facts, locations, address, specific need, number of people impacted, population at risk, dig deep into details, the more the better.
  6. Listen to the officials and experts.  Use caution and reason and follow those who appear to have a ‘handle’ on how to respond in these situations.
  7. Use Tweak the Tweet – We recommend formatting your tweet using Tweak the Tweet  (
  8. Not sure where to start? Pick one topic and stick with it. Become an expert on fielding, researching facts and providing help on specific topic.
  9. Repeat the first 3 Twitter Commandments as needed.

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. For instance, in Pakistan 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’.



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  1. Emergency Communications Network
    September 7, 2010 at 1:30 pm

    Great post. Glad we have connected through the world of social media.

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