Using twitter as an outage notification (was: Fire, Power loss at Fisher Plaza in Seattle)

Roland Perry lists at
Sat Jul 4 12:52:39 UTC 2009

In article <200907041222.NAA23352 at>, Brandon 
Butterworth <brandon at> writes
>> Paying a lot more to host the website with higher "burst" capacity
>> during an emergency, isn't an option.
>> The only other idea I've had is to sign all the customers up to receive
>> an SMS via some sort of broadcast service (the news will fit easily in
>> one SMS).
>If the event is suitably calamitous we will do that for you -

The "event" (typically closing a High School because of snow, but we 
have swine flu these days too) is currently reported mainly by local 
radio stations. However it doesn't scale - there are perhaps two hundred 
of them trying to phone in to one radio station during the same 15 
minutes after they made the decision, half an hour before the school is 
supposed to open for the day.

Another problem with a literally "broadcast" system is that it takes 
them too long to read out the names of the schools which are closed, 
even if trying to cover just one county.

Nor does it matter to anyone except a particular closed group of perhaps 
1000 households whether any one school is closed - so telling everyone 
is a bit of a waste.

So it seemed to me that a Tweet from the school would be an ideal 

But a system like yours, if it could be divided up into a few tens of 
thousands of SIGs (one for each school), is the kind of "more 
traditional" solution I was thinking about.
Roland Perry

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