Anyone who has ever given a preparedness presentation has had the question asked:
How are you going to inform the public (or us) when the power is out, or the Internet is out, or the cell phone signals are jammed?
The right answer is that we’re actively planning and working with all partners to ensure that we can reach you in an emergency, no matter the situation. It’s also good to note that we don’t depend solely on any one form of communication, so if one goes down we can use another.
This week’s events in Egypt have given us a real-life view into what might happen in just that situation. The Egyptian government has been shutting down Internet service providers throughout the weekend, and finally this afternoon (evening, Egyptian-time) succeeded in shutting down the last public link to the outside world.
But, like everything else in our world, it finds a way. According to Mashable (and nearly every other major tech blogger), Google has teamed up with engineers at the recently acquired SayNow company and Twitter to develop a “voice-to-tweet” tool:
The service, which is already live, enables users to send tweets using a voice connection. Anyone can tweet by leaving a voicemail on one of three international phone numbers: +16504194196 or +390662207294 or +97316199855. Tweets sent using the service will automatically include the hashtag #egypt.
People can also listen to the messages by dialing the above numbers, and by clicking on the links posted to @speak2tweet.
The world is changing by the minute, and communications—especially social media tools and companies—are creating the bleeding edge. And now we know what we might do when the Internet goes out.