Can we avoid Tweets expiring in emergencies?
Yesterday night I was reading @LuisSerranoR post explaining why and how tweets expire in emergencies and whether it would be possible to find a solution. I completely agree with him in his approach. Nonetheless, I’d like to add one more step in the possible solution. That is: if only Twitter can make it possible to counter criticism efficiently, let’s ask them to make an app to solve the problem.
As @LuisSerranoR explains so well, we have a problem (in emergencies) when people collapse the timeline with old information regarding, for instance, the need for blood donation. If that happens, roads might be collapsed and hospital overwhelmed, so they won’t be capable of attending injured patients who really need their help.
Detecting rumors in Twitter
The first step to detecting that something is going on (whether they are good/bad news or rumors) is a peak in the number of messages coming for a source or being retweeted. Let’s offer an example. I realized that King Juan Carlos of Spain resigned the throne because my iPhone screen informed me that several of my contacts had retweeted @CasaReal. So I had a look and discovered the big scoop going on. Since the source was official and verified, the information was correct.
What happens when we follow non official accounts and make RT without checking the time when the info was pushed?
As I already said, old information spreads, with the consequences already known.
Why do we spread that info without checking? There are many reasons. Being lack of expertise the first and most obvious of all, good will is another. We want to be helpful, so if we read in Twitter that blood donation is needed most people would retweet straight away, without thinking whether blood was needed some hours ago, but it is not anymore, as @LuisSerranoR says.
The added problem is that people are not as fast as they were before when it is time to retweet that blood is no needed any more. That’s because the previous action make us feel better people, while the second does not seem to be as important issue as the previous one.
The same would apply to pictures. We only have to see what happens with false pictures during Sandy Hurricane.
VOST teams are not enough
Neither VOST teams nor influencers are capable, by themselves, to stop this tsunami of information; no matter how hard we work or how many we are (we are quite a few here in Spain).
If we agree that the emergency should be twitted, only Twitter, detecting in due time the peak of information, would be capable of stopping this process by making a tool (an app?) which analyzes this phenomenon and acts as a content curator.
Let’s hope it will be develop before a really huge catastrophe strikes.