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#AssamFloods2016: 10 tips to use Twitter effectively for crisis relief

By Mahima Kaul

As more grim news about the #AssamFloods2016 pour in, citizens are looking to find information about how to track the developments and help with rescue and relief efforts. @TwitterIndia has compiled a list of accounts that you can follow to track developments and also get tips on how to engage effectively.

Follow the conversation using these hashtags

Use #AssamFloods or #AssamFloods2016 hashtags to follow the conversation on Twitter. If you use @TweetDeck, you can open both conversation streams to get real-time updates from both hashtags.

Follow these accounts

You can subscribe to this List curated by @TwitterIndia to keep track of the various agencies and volunteers working on the ground. The list includes:

Here are 10 Twitter tips to effectively communicate on Twitter during a crisis and help out in relief operations. These apply for urban cases of flooding as well, as is being witnessed in Gurugram and Bengaluru.

1. Keep your messages clear and simple. Be consistent in your language. Reinforce the messages you are sending out. If you are surfacing new information from the ground, quote your sources to lend credibility to your tweet. 

2. Use the most popular hashtags in your Tweets to ensure your Tweets join the larger conversations. E.g., #AssamFloods or #AssamFloods2016

3. Verify the information you are sharing or Retweeting. Ensure the source is credible. 

4. Do NOT spread unverified messages received via social media channels, private group chats, or SMS. They can cause a lot of confusion and wasted effort. 

5. Tweets with a clear Call-to-Action are more effective. Clearly stating how people can help by Retweeting, and donating, for instance, are powerful. Use media cards, graphics and visuals to collate information into one image. 

6. Follow agencies involved with crisis relief so that your Twitter timeline will be full of updated Tweets with the latest information. 

7. Prioritize needs, resources and locations which need help. Use your network and tag people you think would be interested in sharing this information with their own networks. 

8. If you are joining the rescue effort, tag @ndmaindia or @NDRFHQ with the location of anyone who needs rescuing or any people/corporates/NGOs who can help with the relief efforts. 

9. After a rescue or relief Tweet has been addressed, it’s generally a good practice to Retweet your own Tweet with an update saying a particular rescue has been conducted and thank the people who did it. This is because the rescue may be complete but people may still Retweet your old Tweets, not realising it has been resolved.

10. If you’re joining a relief effort, know what you are going to do and with whom. Keep your focus on what you are looking to solve and create a plan of action. Identify location needs; resource raising; and collaborators and partners on the ground. 

Last week, we hosted a #TweetToTransform workshop with @OxfamIndia. You can read more tips and ideas on the blog post here.

We hope this public service education on Twitter will enable more of our Indian users to participate in the rescue and relief efforts, save more lives in Assam, and help the affected people to recover from this natural disaster.