SOCIAL MEDIA | Eight tips to use Twitter effectively in times of disaster


With Filipinos being the most active social media users in the world, during times of crisis Pinoys turn to Twitter to communicate with each other.

MANILA, PHILIPPINES — With Filipinos being the most active social media users in the world, during times of crisis Pinoys turn to Twitter to communicate with each other, access critical information, and organize relief efforts. Twitter is a powerful tool for real-time news and information, and is the place where government agencies, relief organizations, media, volunteers, and citizens go to communicate and collaborate.

Here are 8 tips to get the most out of Twitter during a crisis:

1. Twitter is where you go to see #WhatsHappening everywhere in the world, right now. Follow media organizations like Rappler’s Move PH (@MovePH), ABS-CBN News (@ABSCBNNews), GMA News (@gmanews), CNN Philippines (@cnnphilippines) and TV 5 (@TV5manila) to get the timely updates when disaster strikes. Avoid sharing information that you are unable to verify.

2. Tell the full story with Twitter threads. A thread on Twitter is a series of connected Tweets. It may provide readers with additional context and updates by connecting multiple Tweets together. Twitter threads allow you to go into details beyond the 280 character limit, which is especially helpful when information is complex, or you have new data coming through live in quick succession.

3. Use the Philippines’ standard unified hashtags for emergencies, along with the hashtag for the specific crisis (i.e. #IndayPH). Hashtags are the best way for people to find consolidated information and conversations online. They are used by media, government agencies and relief/volunteer organisations. For example, the hashtag from January to March 2018 helped people to know the latest updates about Mayon’s eruption, what to do during the situation, and was also used to promote #Bayanihan in each organization’s call for volunteers to help the affected communities of Albay. To ensure that the hashtags remain useful, refrain from using these hashtags for unrelated topics.

PH Unified Hashtags



Pertaining to earthquake warnings, report on magnitude, quake-related damages or casualties, risk of aftershocks and tsunami


Pertaining to flood updates during inclement weather, reporting on roads impassable due to flooding, stranded citizens, flood-related damages or casualties


Pertaining to information regarding relief operations, such as locations of relief centers


Exclusively used for aid or rescue requests


Pertains to class or work suspension due to nature or man-made calamities

4. Tweet with a clear call-to-action. It is more effective to clearly state what is needed – for example, whether volunteers, emergency supplies or rescue support are needed. Use visuals such as photos, videos or infographics to simplify the message and hold your audience’s attention. When your call-to-action has been addressed, Retweet your previous Tweet with an update.

5. Mention or tag media, government agencies and relief and/or volunteer organizations who may be able to share your Tweet and amplify your voice. For example, for the Mayon Volcano related updates, tag @phivolcs_dost and @NDRRMC_OpCen. For traffic accidents around Metro Manila, tag @MMDA with the location of anyone who needs assistance. For fire incidents, tag the Bureau of Fire Protection (@bfpnhq_pis).

6. Follow the official Twitter accounts of government agencies and international organizations such as the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (@NDRRMC_OpCen) Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA-DOST) (@dost_pagasa), Office of Civil Defense (@CivilDefensePH), the Philippine Red Cross (@philredcross), and the International Committee of the Red Cross (@ICRC_AsiaPac).

7. Track the issue as it evolves with Twitter Moments. Moments are curated stories showcasing the most relevant Tweets for what’s happening on Twitter. Twitter Moments show current topics which are popular and relevant, so that you can discover what is unfolding on Twitter in an instant. Create a chronological account of the situation and curate relevant Tweets, which can serve as a point of reference later on.

8. Use Twitter Lite to avoid challenges in data bandwidth. In areas where telecommunications have been disrupted, the web-based Twitter Lite is the ideal platform to communicate emergency updates. Twitter Lite is a faster, data-friendly, and more accessible way for Filipinos to keep abreast of breaking news, or post live Twitter updates of emergency situations on-the-ground. Once loaded, the information on Twitter Lite can be accessed offline as well. Twitter Lite is available at — on smartphone or tablet in 42 languages including Tagalog.

Twitter is here to help every Filipino see #WhatsHappening in real time and engage the right people, organizations and agencies when they need it and lend a helping hand. Twitter is helping keep the bayanihan spirit alive. editors

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