Twitter Commandments

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Are You Really Helping Haiti? In Twitter?

Are you a Tweety Bird or a Twitter Warrior?  Find out by reading below.  This site is manned by volunteers around the world.  All information is verified before posted.  Obviously, we cant validate live feeds being broadcast from other sites online.  Please keep us notified so that we can keep it up to date and accurate.  Thank you for all you are doing to help!

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Have you become an expert at fact finding emergencies in #Haiti already?  Tweeting isnt being used on the ground to save lives, unless it is picked up by someone already in the area that can assist.  Here is how you can become even better at helping Haiti with emergency requests.

  1. Rescue teams/aid agencies prioritize action based on population, criticality & ability2 reach the impact area and find the people impacted
  2. One tool being employed is at which is being used to help identify priorities and emergencies inside Haiti
  3. To see if the incident you are aware of has been reported search using the searchbar for specific location/need
  4. If the incident isnt listed in you can submit an incident report – but be careful & very specific on the need & address, #of people, etc.
  5. Try searching public internet for news stories on the topic – you’d be surprised how many media reports help us
  6. When reporting an incident in add contact info if available – provide name or twitter user of initial reporter – date/time
  7. If u have or can find a GPS location include it in incident report because  “turn at the corner of rubble & rubble doesnt help -street signs are down
  8. If you are not sure its authentic but your gut says it maybe – dont hesitate – report it!

And now some words of advice for the Twitter Global Disaster Action Team #TWITDAT… …

Haiti Twitter Commandments

  1. Do not panic.
  2. Take a deep breath. You do not need to know it all. Do not be distracted by noise and confusion.
  3. Do No Harm. Remember it is better to have no news than it is to have inaccurate news.
  4. Include date & time stamp for local time in the impacted location of the original posting.(sample: Jan21 1:10 local time #Haiti [address], [emergency description] [contact: name of contact)  If you are retweeting a retweet of a retweet you see how this will help aid workers and first responders who are frustrated by old news and rumors. We recommend tweak-the-tweet (
  5. Verify your source. If you do not know for sure the source is reliable – do not retweet the information. Use two reliable independent sources for major news items such as collapse of a hospital or a new field hospital. If you do not have two reliable sources then include (unconfirmed) or (unverified) in your tweet.
  6. Verify your facts. Get facts, locations, address, specific need, number of people impacted.  Look it up on internet – the address, the news, videos, images, blogs, look it up on YouTube, Facebook, find a map, learn about the location impacted… dig deep into details, the more the better.
  7. Listen to the experts. You are not on the ground in the impacted area.  Use caution and reason and follow those who appear to have a ‘handle’ on how to respond in these situations.
  8. Not sure where to start? Pick one topic and stick with it. Become an expert on fielding, researching facts, news stories and providing help on specific topic.
  9. Repeat the first 3 Twitter Commandments as needed.


Colorado.EDU provided this very helpful format tool to help us be consistent in how we format our messages in Twitter.  Bookmark this one to keep it handy .


Contributing Twitter Warrior Ruth Elliott says, “I am trying to help Haiti by using Twitter and compiling Twitter lists.” Follow Ruth’s lists on line in twitter at @RIElliott . See details below on her contacts.

My first list is of people who are tweeting from Haiti (or in a few cases, they are sending out news and someone else is tweeting on their behalf).

Even people who are not on Twitter, can monitor the news on this list. It is amazing to hear all the updates from those on the ground in Haiti. I have 202 people on this list and keep updating it each day. I would love it for other people to help keep the list updated by sending me other names (via Twitter @RIElliott). Just send a message like this: @RIElliott #Haiti ff & @Twitter name. I can quickly check whether they are already on my list or not. Also send me updates for taking people off my list. There have been people who have only gone to Haiti for a few days and then left. I take them off the “In Haiti” list unless they are still tweeting info from Haiti.

My second list is for those people or organizations who are working on logistics of getting aid to Haiti. There is some overlap between the In Haiti list and this logistics list. However, people who are helping on the tech front are also included in this list. I have not worked as hard to keep this list current. That list can be found at (84 people on this list)

The final list includes all the people I have found tweeting good stuff about Haiti. This includes most of the above two lists but also includes many others.. For me, it is the least useful of the lists. However, sometimes people from that list move across to the In Haiti list. There are 493 on this list.

Let people know that they can follow any of these lists by going to my Twitter account (@RIElliott) and then selecting the list (on the right hand side of the page close to the Trending Topics list. When they follow the list, it will appear on the right hand side on their own Twitter home page. They can click on the list anytime to check out the latest news from Haiti. It does not mean they are following the individuals on the list (although they could choose to do that). It simply means they are following my list.

The saddest thing about my lists is that so few people are following them. Many people have set up one Haiti list but that way you get a lot of Haiti clutter in your Twitter stream. I think that listening and supporting (via Tweak the Tweet) those on the ground and helping Haiti is the best thing we can do.

Ruth Elliott


There are literally thousands of ways you can help. Here are examples of how you can literally save lives just by browsing on the Internet:

1) Where are the working hospitals today – Leave us comments on Hospital page

2) Where are they feeding people today us comments on Food page

3) Where are shelters.  What is their GPS location or street address. Comments on Shelters page

4) Where do they need gasoline for generators today add comments on appropriate page

5) Who is looking for a loved one – can you search for them? Add comments on find persons page

6) Want to be an editor or twitter ambassador for HelpHaitiHeal? Let us know!

If you want to do more please email with VOLUNTEER in the subject line

  1. Such A Southern Girl
    January 23, 2010 at 7:09 am

    Excellent information! Thanks so much!!!

  2. sarah b /tweeter @dlightfactory
    January 23, 2010 at 6:54 pm

    Wonderful work here !! thank u
    I’ll do my best to help

  3. z00t
    January 23, 2010 at 10:55 pm

    Thank you Sarah!! Twitter warriors rock!

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