Way back in July 2012 I wrote on my personal blog about two weeks’ work gathering the information required for all of Scotland’s Category 1 emergency responders’ Twitter accounts to get the coveted Blue Tick.
This may seem like vanity but when it comes to emergencies it means that the public can be assured that the information on these accounts is genuine and trustworthy. I basically phoned all the comms teams, put the information in a spreadsheet and sent it to my contact at Twitter. Blue ticks had started appearing before I’d got home that night.
Those phone calls threw up some interesting points:
- some Twitter accounts sat with IT but it isn’t IT who sit on public comms groups or who put out emergency messages
- some comms people didn’t know the email address 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 didn’t have Twitter accounts when all the research points to Twitter being the ideal emergency channel when everything else is failing
- no Twitter accounts are run by resilience teams
When I announced on Twitter that we had the blue tick I was asked by some English authorities if they could do the same. A couple of weeks later, quite by chance I discovered that the Cabinet Office Resilience Team had set up a process for all Category 1 responders to apply. At the time they shared this on the Resilience Gateway – a platform used by resilience people, not comms teams.
So when I blogged about the process with instructions there was a flurry of activity.
Then the Cabinet Office email address changed.
They updated the information on the Resilience Gateway but no one in comms was any the wiser – their emails were disappearing into the ether.
Now I have the updated information but I have to point out that this should only be used by Category 1 responders. If you don’t know if you are a Cat 1 responder you probably aren’t but you’ll find a list of organisations in the Civil Contingencies Act.
The Cabinet Office have been quite clear that they will only process genuine requests from Cat 1 responders so to try to filter out the cheeky ones amongst you I’ve put the instructions on the Knowledge Hub.
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