"On Twitter, there's some fairly amazing information that comes in," said Imad Mouline, chief technology officer with Everbridge, whose customers also include the city of Boston and Virginia Tech. "Part of what we wanted to do was give this as complementary information... Is there a pattern showing up on Twitter that tells me I need to pay attention to a certain situation?"
Mouline, said users can set up controls that will alert them if tweets about their city or area jump from, say, 100 tweets per hour to 1,000 tweets per hour. They also can set it up so the Everbridge system monitors for certain key words, such as fire, flood or earthquake. Eventually, the company plans to monitor Facebook or Google+ activity for the same purpose.
Dan Olds, an analyst with The Gabriel Consulting Group, said it's smart for municipalities to think social as an option for communicating with its residents.
"This is a smart move by local government to take advantage of technology to provide better service to constituents," he added. "In addition, increasing communications between government and citizens will also decrease the workload on government as they can use fewer workers to communicate with more people."
Read more about social media in Computerworld's Social Media Topic Center.