17-001: A Shake That Never Happened #PIO #Safety #SocialMedia

17-001: A Shake That Never Happened
Agency: US Geological Survey (USGS) Topic(s):      Error message / human error
Date: 06-23-17 Platform:      Twitter/Email

Sometimes, US Geological Survey (USGS) computers have 6.8 sized hiccups which automatically pushed out info this past Wednesday. This caused serious concern as numerous Emergency Management professionals and PIOs desperately searched to verify information on any earthquake in California. None was to be found on Wednesday June 21, 2017.

As you can see, the date listed in the email notification isn’t consistent with Wednesday’s date as well as the time stamp of publication.

Even worse was the 140-character tweet with even less text/info that initially went out to their 679K followers (@USGS). With the magnitude and epicenter location in a well populated area (Santa Barbara CA), it is crucial that we have multiple sources to verify critical information.

As humans, our attention span has shortened. (SQUIRREL!) Likely thousands misread the initial date/time listed on the email. Even less took the time to click the link in the tweet.

USGS noticed the error and posted this explanation of the errand info. Emails were sent to explain the deleted event.

Obviously more than 140 characters, they screen shot a typed response and posted the image to twitter referencing their errant tweet. The USGS used this tactic to get more information and characters into an otherwise short 140-character tweet.

Whether computer or human error, fessing up to an error on social media is embarrassing. However, the ramifications of arbitrarily deleting info without prior public notification will gander your agency a rash of criticism from the most loyal of followers. Government agencies should strive to foster trust and transparency with all of their constituency. Not to mention, deletion of your posts must match your agency’s policy/procedure or SOP/SOG.

Three important tips to consider if an agency posts something weird:

  1. Trust, but verify information. Trust your social media intuition.
  2. Correlate data from various sources to make an informed decision for ongoing operations.
  3. Admit your mistakes. It happens. Human error is a thing.

Mistakes happen, but how you recover will either make you a hero or a zero. Maximize your efforts on social media including screenshots of your more-than-140-character-response.

Time is short, so tweet / email correct stuff!


****Or download the one-pager here: AShakeThatNeverHappened-Safety-PIO-SM-17-001***

Maybe watch a quick video from USA Today

During an emergency, amplify official information

We talk a ton about people who carelessly retweet, share, and re-purpose information. Whether mis-informed or attention seeking whores, it is likely that people need a bit more digital responsibility on line esp w/ social media.

Part of me thinks that min-informed people don’t believe in the power of social media.

Seasoned PIOs know the potential of social media.

However, check out the tweet from Mountain View Police Department’s Capt Chris Hsiung re: Dallas Police Department.

Well said Capt Hsiung.

I encourage many in my classes to be good stewards of information and not to skew truth as it can only delay the root cause from others. We will not be led astray or swayed by sensational tweets, posts, etc…We must rely on straight facts and truth.


Apparently, my first tweet…was not that exciting. #LoveTwitter

Apparently, my first tweet…was not that exciting.

I guess that’s OK, because I was not out galavanting (or goofing off) on a Tuesday night at 11:28 PM.

Either way, Happy 10 years Twitter!

Looking forward to many more tweets!



Scratch 10,000 bec we are at 140. Whew.

“Twitter for 10,000 characters” Alex.


Nope – looks like Twitter will be keeping it’s 140-character limit tweet.


In a Good Morning interview on 03-18-16 with Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey (@jack) said “Absolutely not” to the 10,000 character twitter postings – whew. Here’s the link to the video.

Thanks @Jack – Ain’t nobody got time for 10,000 characters.





Your best tweets will show first? Hellz no! #firehose

Seems like Twitter is trying to prioritize the most important tweets to you.


Awwwwwwwwww, hellz no!

Well, at least they *think* they can predict what you want to read from your follower base.

Don’t be fooled. You can toggle this option off via your Twitter settings. And I suggest you do.

Because if you are like me, you like LOVE drinking from the fire hose.


So do the right thing and toggle your “best Tweets first” to the off position.


Never settle for a supposed predicted computed algorithm to calculate what it thinks I want to read. I can make that decision on my own.




140 SWATTING is the new thing

On Saturday, a user on Twitter posted threats about specific flights.


These terroristic tweets were taunting and often vulgar with careless disregard for the safety of numerous people. Authorities were contacted and an immediate investigation was started. Multiple flights were halted, Flights from Portland Portland and Milwaukee were identified and Atlanta Airport was checked for bombs.

Targeting various airlines, the threats moved on from Delta Airlines to Southwest Airlines.


Good practice – the verbiage used by Southwest is good communications/social media verbiage to use on Twitter when responding to immediate threats.

User cited supposedly specific information on how the plot was carried out.


Taunting the safety of passengers on a public forum is bad.


In the end, the person making the threats identified a specific address of location. Again, taunting law enforcement.


Easily found on Google Maps, Chicago Police was dispatched to this address to verify information.


As I predicted, the address did not yield the subject.

Sounds like “SWATTING” to me – http://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/2013/september/the-crime-of-swatting-fake-9-1-1-calls-have-real-consequences/the-crime-of-swatting-fake-9-1-1-calls-have-real-consequences

In my opinion (and how you should interpret this story is simple): It takes is 140-characters to send you to jail.

From the intel POV: Lots to glean from the info/data posted in these tweets.

From the safety POV: Lots of operational assets to mobilze.

From the Emergency Management POV: Lots to coordinate with various all-hazards public safety agencies in multiple places.

This would be a good time to remind you of DHS’ phrase – “If you see something, say something”.

Remain vigilant my friends.




Lists – 2014’s most-tweeted moments

I can’t wait to talk about this in class soon. Ugh.


Lists – 2014’s most-tweeted moments

By Twitter 12-10-14


The top 5 most-tweeted-about entertainment moments:



  • “If only Bradley’s arm was longer. Best photo ever. #oscars,” read Ellen DeGeneres’ tweet. It was accompanied by a selfie taken by Bradley Cooper and including a who’s who of A-listers at the Academy Awards: Meryl Streep, DeGeneres, Brad Pitt, Kevin Spacey,Julia Roberts, Angelina Jolie and Lupita N’yongo. The selfie had 3.3 million retweets and 2 million favorites, and it was retweeted in 151 different countries. DeGeneres’ selfie also was the most-tweeted-about entertainment moment in the U.S. this year, with 254,644 tweets per




  • The end of the Super Bowl halftime show featuring Bruno Mars and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, 229,533 tweets a minute.


  • Imagine Dragons/Kendrick Lamar Grammy performance, 171,593 tweets a minute.


  • DeGeneres delivers pizza to Oscar audience, 158,159 tweets a minute.


  • Lorde wins best pop solo performance at the Grammys, 152,688 tweets per minute


Top 5 most-mentioned celebrity?

  • Justin Bieber.
  • One Direction’s Niall Horan
  • Harry Styles
  • Liam Payne
  • Ariana Grande


Most tweeted-about entertainment moments in the U.S.:

  • 254,644 Tweets per minute: Ellen’s famous selfie during the Oscars
  • 229,533 Tweets per minute: End of halftime show featuring Bruno Mars and the Red Hot Chili Peppers at the Super Bowl
  • 171,593 Tweets per minute: Imagine Dragons and Kendrick Lamar performance during the Grammys
  • 158,159 Tweets per minute: Ellen delivers pizza to the audience during Oscars
  • 152, 688 Tweets per minute: Lorde wins best pop solo performance at the Grammys
  • 146,083 Tweets per minute: Lorde performs at Grammys
  • 138,792 Tweets per minute: MIley Cyrus’ win for “Video of the Year” during the VMAS
  • 135,330 Tweets per minute Gravity wins its 6th Oscar- for film editing
  • 97,153 Tweets per minute: Beyonce performs and receives Vanguard Awardalongside Jay Z at VMAs
  • 89,029 Tweets per minute: Lorde wins Best Rock Video at VMAs



Top 10 entertainment-related trends:

  1. #vote5sos










Mentions of pop culture terms:

  • “Selfie”: 92 million Tweets
  • “TBT”: 23.7 million Tweets
  • “Yolo”: 7.8 million Tweets

Most mentioned celebrities:

1.Justin Bieber

2.Niall Horan

3.Harry Styles

4.Liam Payne

5.Ariana Grande

6.Demi Lovato

7.Lady Gaga


9.Louis Tomlinson

10.Taylor Swift