All of Scotland’s Category 1 responders with Twitter accounts have now had them verified. We have the coveted little Blue Tick of Trust.
It all came about at a social media/emergencies meeting I attended where Nick Keane was speaking. He explained that all Police corporate accounts in the UK now had blue ticks thanks to a bit of negotiation with Twitter. I think I rudely interrupted to make the point that all Category 1 responders should have the tick because, let’s face it, when the proverbial hits the fan we’re all in it together, with the same message and the same responsibility to warn and inform.
“Fair point,” he said. “Leave it with me and I’ll talk to Twitter.”
True to his word shortly afterwards a spreadsheet appeared from Twitter with the headings for information they need to verify accounts and the phone calls began. I sent the spreadsheet off to Twitter before I left work one night and by the time I got home we all had blue ticks – hurrah!
Why is this important? Well, now people know they can rely on our information and that we are who we say we are – essential in times of crisis. The other advantage is that it will stop people setting up rogue accounts claiming to be official – it doesn’t get more official than a blue tick.
I must point out that some of the phone calls made me worry, but I won’t mention names:
- some Twitter accounts still seem to sit with IT but it isn’t IT who sit on the public comms groups or who put out emergency messages
- some comms people don’t seem to know the email addresses the account is linked to but you should know your social media channels inside out and not have one person in control – it’s about the channel, not the individual
- some NHS and fire services don’t have Twitter accounts when all the research points to Twitter being the ideal emergency channel when everything else is failing – it was tweets texted to Twitter that made it through the rubble of the Haiti earthquake, after all
When I announced on Twitter that we had the blue tick I was asked by some English authorities if they could do the same. Quite by chance I was invited to a resilience seminar to catch up with some people over lunch and while there I met Mandy Mackenzie, the Resilience Policy Manager at the Cabinet Office. I mentioned the blue tick to her and lo and behold there’s a process in place for all Category 1 responders to apply. How did we not know about this? Because they shared it amongst resilience bods and contingency planners, not comms people.
Anyway, here are your instructions to apply for a blue tick for your main corporate account, if you are a Cat 1 responder. They need:
- the name of the account
- the email address the account is linked to i.e. where the notifications from Twitter go (preferably generic)
- a secondary address if there are any issues (personal or generic)
This should be emailed to email@example.com
If you aren’t a Category 1 emergency responder you’ll find everything you need to know in the Twitter Help Center FAQs about blue ticks.
Finally, when I submitted our spreadsheet Twitter came back with some tips:
- they would expect to see evidence of conversations not just broadcast from emergency responders
- mention your area/organisation in your Twitter biography so your account shows up in a Twitter search
- make sure the name that appears on screen before your @name is the actual name of your organisation