March 1, 2009

Victoria police send historic text

The Herald Sun is reporting that for the first time ever Victoria police have sent a text message to warn people about dangerous weather and fire conditions expected to affect the area Monday night and Tuesday.

Mobile provider Telstra has started sending the message to its customers, and other companies are expected to follow suit.

Emergency Services Commisioner Bruce Esplin said the message was said to reach those who did not listen to radio, watch television or read newspapers, according to the Sun.

At first, there was much confusion in the Twitterverse.

@amoir (Victoria): Anyone else get a text from Vic Police? Or have I signed up for something without realising?

@cj_gray (South Melbourne, Victoria): Anyone know how the Vic police know my mobile number (they sent weahther warning for tomorrow)?

@tsuite (Hobart, Tasmania): Hmm, Vic Police are spamming people with text messages. The question is: why did I get one?

Eventually, Twitterers realized what exactly was going on.

@JayJeffries (Thornbury): Just got a text from Vic Police warning of the fire danger tomorrow. They are really really wanting to warn people this time.

@melwallace (Melbourne): Got a text from Vic Police warning of extreme weather tonight and tomorrow- about time they got a decent warning system in place!!

The message spread incredibly quickly, as this student tweets.

@djmattyg007 (Melbourne): @breakingtweets literally minutes after it got sent out, everyone in my class was talking about it. quite incredible

"Vic Police" trended as high as No. 6 at the height of the conversation on Twitter. It certainly caught people's attention.

@pnbeck (Melbourne): @breakingtweets I got the sms, I was curious how the Police got my number, raised my heart rate for a minute, switched radio on immediately!

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