In our earlier days, we used to crack a joke about a mom with two sons, one of whom is an umbrella seller and the other a sunglasses seller. She is always concerned. On a sunny day, she is concerned about the business of the umbrella-selling son. On a rainy day, she is concerned about the business of the sunglasses-selling son. As mayor, I understand how she feels, particularly during summer. At the moment, a torrential rain warning remains in force. I am concerned again.
We at Seoul Metropolitan Government have started work for the establishment of a Twitter Lifeline for real-time disaster information. On July 3, we signed an MOU with Twitter for the work, with Mr. James Kondo (Managing Director for East Asia of Twitter) attending. Japan was first in the world to establish a Twitter Lifeline following the 2011 Tohoku earthquake. Seoul became the second country in the world to establish a Twitter Lifeline. This was realized after my proposal to Twitter’s COO Ali Rowghani in May.
This system will help people get disaster-related information including information on survivors via the Internet or cell phone in case of natural disaster, such as flood, heavy snow, or earthquake.
Upon the establishment of Twitter Lifeline, Twitter will put disaster information and action guidelines for people as provided by Seoul Metropolitan Government on its network on a real-time basis. Seoul Metropolitan Government will have several twitter accounts certified as disaster accounts by Twitter so that they may play the role of lifeline, such as 16 twitter accounts associated with disaster information plus seoulmania, social media center (seoul_smc), 120seoulcall, and Seoul Metropolitan Government spokesperson (seoulspoke), which are used to provide disaster information concerning radioactivity, information/communication failure, earthquake, large-scale accident on a bridge over Hangang (River), terrorism, etc. Twitter will publicize Seoul Metropolitan Government’s disaster information accounts for use by a large number of people. We will work together with affiliated institutions to expand the lifeline.
Collective intelligence can wield amazing power in times of crisis. Recently, we witnessed how such power was exerted through SNS. Your accurate and prompt information provided through SNS can go a long way in helping people get out of difficulty. United, we can do many great things.