Faculty: Ed Price, DeeDee Bennett, Ph.D.
Early Bird is a mobile application that displays a unique hashtag (#) to provide additional information to users during times of emergency. It is a proof-of-concept idea that shows how a unique hashtag identifier, created at the time of message dissemination by an alert authority, can be linked to a variety of social media sources to provide important lifesaving information in greater detail than is possible with the 90 character limitation of WEA. Center research shows that the current character limitation does not provide enough information for people with disabilities to take appropriate protective action. The app is only activated after receipt of a WEA message on a cell phone and links the hashtag to twitter and/or Facebook feeds with the same hashtag, and the mobile app doesn’t require the user to have a social media account to gather more information. Use of the hashtag will allow the alert authority to post more detailed information, pictures or links to more information on social media thereby allowing individuals to quickly gather pertinent information, increasing their likelihood of making informed protective action decisions.