Driving rain and storms have battered Britain - but how have the emergency services coped in communicating the warnings?
by Dan Slee
If ever you needed proof that sharing out access to social media was a bright idea take a look at the January storms that struck Britain.
High winds, 30-foot waves and flood warnings struck across the country.
The reach of Twitter is greater than the individual account
As ever, the full picture isn't the size of the account but the reach. The Environment Agency Twitter has 139,000 people following. But a Tweetreach snapshot of 1,500 tweets shows the #floodaware hashtag accounts reached 3.4 million people in 10 hours.
People are getting the news direct
People search of information are turning to the official channels in a time of crisis. A tweetreach summary of the #floodaware hashtag shows that they dominate over traditional news organisations. A snapshot of 1,500 tweets on a Friday night shows that government dominates.
Of the top 50 most influential Twitter accounts:
- 11 government - with 10 Downing Street and local government Minister Brandon Lewis featurning as well as Gov.UK and Defra.
- 10 news - local news played a role including BBC Devon and BBC Cornwall as well as the Farmers Guardian.
- 8 police - including individual officers with strong followings such as PCSO Richard Shelton based in Exeter.
- 6 local government - with supportive tweets from Kent County Council and others.
- 6 Environment Agency - the main Environment Agency account supported by regional accounts.
- 3 private sector - with the AA offering the leading private sector account.
- 3 celebrities - with former porn star Shay Hendrix the most popular account.
- 3 Third Sector, 1 resident and 1 Fire account.
The ex-porn star had a bigger impact than the Government Minister
Shay Hendrix’s bio reads thus: “Wrestler. Dominatrix. Model. Ex porn actress. Doesn't play well with others. Fiance of @jimsmallman
Gogledd Cymru, UK” yet her 23,000 followers put her in the top 10 of people sharing the #floodaware hashtag and she had a greater reach than local government Minister Brandon Lewis. Truly, the internet is a wonderful place.
Warnings present the most popular content
All came from the main Environment Agency account with a warning to avoid the shoreline and avoid walking in flood water being key tweets. The EA hotline also proved popular showing that the agency were not putting all thgeir eggs on the one basket. There was offline information as well as digital.
Public sector comms is lifesaving
All too often the public sector can under fire and under attack. It's not glamorous. There will be no photocalls on a yacht off Monaco. But what the public sector does is save lives and a nd help make life better for comunities. The Environment Agency's response to the storms shows dedicated people at the top of their game using a range of channels to inform and educate.
Dan Slee is co-founder of comms2point0.