How @USNavy kept the facts straight

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

As news of the Washington Navy Yard shooting began to spread, the @USNavy kept the facts straight on Twitter during a fast-moving situation.

The Navy initiated its flow of information almost immediately, with the first official confirmation just minutes after the shootings took place:

As the day progressed, @USNavy tweeted updates as soon as additional details became available. “It is important to be out there with the facts as you have them,” says Jason Kelly, director of emerging media at the U.S. Navy. “Within seconds of sending a Tweet, it was immediately being quoted by multiple news organizations. Twitter became the news wire on that day; the Navy’s Tweets were the news bulletins.”

@USNavy also interacted with those needing information. “Something that was important was establishing our hashtag, #NavyYardShooting, on the second Tweet,” says Kelly. “This let everyone know where the conversation would be happening.” This Tweet became the single most-retweeted from @USNavy yesterday:

Here’s how the @USNavy account’s Tweets became part of the story as interest on Twitter spiked with around 1,900 Tweets per minute by 2:13 p.m. ET:

The Navy Yard shootings on Twitter

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How other organizations spread the word
In addition to the Navy, several local organizations turned to Twitter to offer relevant information. For instance, the D.C. police posted regularly throughout the day:

As did public schools, hospitals and government buildings:

And local transportation outfits gave updates on closures and resumption of regular services:

D.C. @MayorVinceGray was active throughout the day, posting and retweeting official information and updates:

Since events in D.C. are often national in scope, the @WhiteHouse also used Twitter to post updates, information and condolences:

Have you seen other innovative uses of Twitter? Email us at [email protected].