The horrible images of the devastation caused by the Japanese Tsunami of March 2011 are still fresh in the minds of many people across the world and the Japanese people are still recovering from the devastation.
The Tsunami struck quickly and many people didn’t have to time to react but Twitter is looking to change that. The micro-blogging giant has just launched a feature called ‘Lifeline’ for Japanese users of Twitter. The feature allows users to locate and follow any accounts that are dedicated to emergencies and emergency response. The idea is that if users follow these accounts, the lifesaving information pushed out by these agencies will reach people more quickly and thus aid in the rescue and preventative efforts.
Twitter has become central to the emergency efforts of state agencies and its quickness in disseminating information during the Virginia earthquake of 2011 is part of what has prompted the development of the Lifeline feature. For now the feature is only available in Japan, but it looks like plans are in the works for a worldwide roll out. Twitter product manager Jinen Kamdar solidified the plans: “Since Twitter often becomes a de facto lifeline during crises everywhere, we hope to eventually expand this functionality to more locations around the world.”
Twitter has over 250 million active users and many people don’t care for it much but say what you like about the platform, features like Lifeline shows how social media can be a force for good.