Using Twitter to Respond to Natural Disasters

Dan York of Voxeo has posted a great interview with Martin Murray of Public Service of New Hampshire (PSNH) detailing the utility’s response to an ice storm last month that knocked out power to a significant number of customers.

PSNH is New Hampshire’s largest electric utility, serving more than 490,000 homes and businesses throughout the state. The utility made extensive use of Twitter, YouTube and other social networking tools during the recent ice storm to provide information to customers impacted by the storm. This is yet another example of a creative use of social networking tools by a utility company.

Governments take heed! In some parts of the country (including my home state of Delaware) local governments are also the local utility company. But more than that, the creative use of social networking tools by PSNH should stand as an example of the different ways governments can improve their communications with citizens using these tools.

What a great service it would be to find out how long the wait is at the local DMV, or to find out how long the wait in the automobile inspection lanes are via Twitter. Or how about getting Tweets when trash or recycling picks up change because of a holiday?

There is enormous potential for improving the interactions between citizens and their governments using these tools. Time for more governments to get with it