I am experimenting with Twitter. I don’t have a particular need for tweeting, but I felt compelled to learn more after an emergency in the neighborhood on a Sunday night. We wanted to know what was going on and none of the radio stations or their web sites had any coverage. I went to Twitter because I knew that the police department uses tweets. Sure enough there was enough of a blurb to help us understand that there was a robbery/homicide. Very tragic.
So I signed up and started following local police, fire, and transportation feeds for everything from service calls to the neighborhood patrol cars to traffic. I threw in a couple of news feeds too. I can access my feed from the phone, the iPad, and the desktop computer. Youtube has some good videos to help get started.
One good application would be communicating in an emergency when cell phones are overloaded and public services are overwhelmed. It looks like a good way to get the neighborhood clued in on what’s what. That will require more research and experimentation.