A Twitter emergency broadcast system in the works


We now interrupt this post to bring you a message from the Twitter emergency broadcast system.

Something along those lines may one day not be as silly as it sounds if James Buck gets his way. You may recall Buck as the former UC Berkeley student who was arrested in Egypt and used the micro-messaging service Twitter to get himself out of jail. Now he wants to start a Twitter-driven network for emergency situations such as the one he went through, according to The Industry Standard.

More specifically, the idea appears to be to create humanitarian groups out there watching specific regions. If a problem came up, such as a foreigner going to jail, or on a larger scale, an earthquake or another disaster, people could then message these “watchers” who could either mobilize to help out themselves, or pass the information along to someone who could.

Buck is even talking with Twitter itself about such a service. Twitter cofounder Biz Stone met with Buck last week to discuss how such functionality could work with regards to Twitter’s site.

Buck also notes that he hopes this new effort will help free his Egyptian translator who was placed in jail with him two months ago — and is still there.

We often write about Twitter’s downtime issues, but the fact remains that it is a very powerful communication tool when working properly. The Buck situation as well as the recent Chinese earthquake news is proof of this.

The service’s reliability has improved greatly since bringing in outside help from Pivotal Labs a couple weeks back.

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