#MumbaiRains: Govt, civic bodies get their act right on Twitter
Twitter’s live, open and public nature has been leveraged best during times of crisis and emergencies by NGOs, citizens, government agencies and the media. This has often resulted in access to important information and also unprecedented collaboration between those in need.
As grim updates about the #MumbaiRains #MumbaiRainsLive pour in, access to safe, reliable information is critical and can help mitigate panic, making it easier for the government and disaster relief entities to support citizens.
Here is a list of accounts that one can follow to track developments and also get tips on how to engage effectively. This list includes accounts like:
- Devendra Fadnavis, Chief Minister of Maharashtra (@CMOMaharashtra)
- Indian Navy @indiannavy
- BMC (@mybmc)
- Mumbai Police (@MumbaiPolice)
- National Disaster Management Authority (@ndmaindia)
- Mantralaya Control Room (@drmadiwr)
- India Meteorological Department (@Indiametdept)
- Western Railway (@WesternRly)
- Division Railway Manager - Mumbai Division of Western Railway (@drmbct)
- Skymet Weather (@SkymetWeather)
Additionally, @mybmc has come up with an innovative initiative - #RainDost, to bring together volunteers to help the city in time of monsoon related crisis. As part of this initiative, one can use the hashtag #RainDost to add to the #RainHosts list and help those in need.
To help relevant government authorities and institutions on effectively managing their response mechanism, Twitter India has shared a disaster management toolkit with them. This includes best practices for sharing information with users and managing relief and rescue efforts on the platform during disasters.
Twitter has also given 10 tips for users to effectively communicate on the platform during a crisis and help out in relief operations. These apply for urban cases of flooding and waterlogging, like Mumbai is witnessing at the moment.
- Keep your messages clear and simple. Be consistent in your language. Reinforce the messages you are sending out. If you are surfacing new information from the ground, quote your sources to lend credibility to your Tweet.
- Follow the norm on the platform and use hashtags in your Tweets to ensure your Tweets are part of the larger conversations. E.g., #MumbaiRains OR #MumbaiRainsLive
- Verify the information you are sharing or Retweeting. Ensure the source is credible.
- Do NOT spread unverified messages received via social media channels, private group chats, or SMS. They can cause a lot of confusion and wasted effort.
- Tweets with a clear Call-to-Action are more effective. Clearly stating how people can help by Retweeting, and donating, for instance, are powerful. Use media cards, graphics and visuals to collate information into one image.
- Follow agencies involved with crisis relief so that your Twitter timeline will be full of updated Tweets with the latest information.
- Prioritize needs, resources and locations which need help. Use your network and tag people you think would be interested in sharing this information with their own networks.
- If you are joining the rescue effort, tag the disaster relief authorities with the location of anyone who needs rescuing or any people/corporates/NGOs who can help with the relief efforts.
- After a rescue or relief Tweet has been addressed, it’s generally a good practice to Retweet your own Tweet with an update saying a particular rescue has been conducted and thank the people who did it. This is because the rescue may be complete but people may still Retweet your old Tweets, not realising it has been resolved.
- If you’re joining a relief effort, know what you are going to do and with whom. Keep your focus on what issue needs to be solved and create a plan of action. Identify location needs; resource raising; and collaborators and partners on the ground.
Meanwhile, Bollywood icon Amitabh Bachchan took to Twitter using a throwback photo from an old movie of his, ‘The Great Gambler’, with a hilarious caption to spread some humour during these tough times.