new VOST – SMEM twitter monitoring suggestion using tweetdeck (update)

Many of our #SMEM and #VOST folks have been struggling since the loss of tweetgrid.

The big missing piece for monitoring and searches since the recent twitter API changes brought down tweetgrid is not just a loss of easy viewing with multicolumn searches. We lost the ability to set up all of these searches once so that we don’t all have to build the searches individually. Tweetgrid was a huge timesaver and also allowed us to rapidly share searches with the public.

When we were on a VOST debrief call Monday for the Owyhee Fire VOST activation, we were talking about searches and monitoring, and it occurred to me that if we set up an activation-specific tweetdeck space using the activation-specific twitter account, we can list it as a resource along with our other VOST tools, and share the password with the team. Then any of us can go log in and use that set of  searches from that account any time we like without everyone having to rebuild all of those searches.

Colleague and PNW2VOST team lead Marlita Reddy-Hjelmfelt was leading the meeting and she agreed that this was a good idea, and said that she also thought about doing this. Jeff Phillips agreed it was worth trying, and we quickly tried it on tweetdeck to see if two of us could be logged in – it worked just fine.

This is not as good a solution as tweetgrid was, but it can be a big time-saver, and well worth the trouble of setting up on medium to large disaster activations. It still doesn’t allow us to share multicolumn searches out to the public fast, but at least we can use tweetgrid as a team tool.

So the procedure would be:

– Decide that the disaster activation is big enough to justify the time it will take to set up the activation-specific tweetgrid account and then set up text, hashtag and geocode searches.

– Use the activation-specific twitter account and email account to set up tweetdeck, then build a preliminary set of text, hashtag and geocode searches in columns on that account.

– Save the tweetdeck URL, account info and password to the shared resources document for your VOST team.

Note: This is also potentially a useful tool for all EMs and disaster org folks who may want to set up a specific twitter and tweetdeck account to share with a trusted team in a specific geographic location. For example you could set up an account to share with your “trusted agents” and set up to search local hashtags, place-names and maybe geocode searches for likely disaster areas – for instance if you have regions that are likely to flood…

If you have this account set up and ready, you could use it to train during drills, then everyone will know where it is and how to use it when needed.

Maybe others are already doing this? I’d love to hear from you.


Update: @JeremyOps mentioned via twitter that he uses this technique:

“@JeremyOps Jul 17, 8:56am via Twitter for iPhone
@sct_r my team does this using the web app. Only challenge is everyone needs to refresh to see when someone makes changes to searches/column”

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