The worst of social media

It happened again.

I was in a sleep; I’d like to say deep sleep but I don’t know for certain. I heard my phone vibrate.

I have my phone on vibrate all the time anyway and then program it to “do not disturb” from 9pm to 5am. I’d tried to stay up to see the end of the hockey game but didn’t make it.

I think I’d finally dropped off when I heard the vibration. With my scheme, there’s only one reason why a message would overturn the settings.

The message was a bit cryptic since it made reference to the WRPS. Could the “W” be Windsor? Then I realized that it stood for “Waterloo Region”. As we know, it’s only a 3.5 hour drive along the 401 to get here and, if the alert was true…

So, the word got out to the province. Later, as we were to find out about 1:00am, the alert was cancelled. That didn’t stop my television from displaying the alert when it was first turned on this morning. The message had been received and was just waiting to be viewed.

I turned to social media, in this case Twitter, to see the details. The message was just that it had been cancelled. That was the good news.

Sadly, though, social media was not a good place to turn for details. There were all kinds of complaints from people. Amber Alert (and variations thereof) was trending and not in a nice way. Not with leads or information but from people complaining that the Amber Alert had wakened them from a sleep. It wasn’t just the one in Ontario; an Amber Alert had been issued in another jurisdiction as well.

My reaction is the same as it always is at times like this. What jerks! How selfish!

The whole program is to open eyes throughout the province. Particularly when it’s issued at 11:30 at night, the people could be in many locations throughout the province. It only works when it works. By working, that means that as many people in the province are informed so that there are many eyes on the lookout.

Probably the only positive thing is that these people would still be in the province since the border to the United States is closed.

On the heels of yesterday’s very positive post about the use of social media, this was an example of how it can be used badly.

I did eventually get back to sleep. I hope that the complainers did as well. It’s a small price to pay to get the word out to the province; may you never need it personally. Just suck it up, buttercup.

4 thoughts on “The worst of social media

  1. Good morning, Doug!

    I wonder what your thoughts would be on a couple of options for folks who are sleeping and don’t appreciate the disruption of an Amber Alert:

    1) If the phone is in another room or powered off such that the alert isn’t received until later in the morning, is that okay? People who are sleeping aren’t actively on the lookout for anything while asleep.

    2) When the technology arrives to differentiate between a sleeping phone owner and an awake one, will it be appropriate to store the alert until the owner wakes?

    • Does an Amber Alert seek to wake everyone?
    • Is it a deficiency in our current technology that doesn’t allow our phones to differentiate between an Amber Alert and a Disaster Alert?


  2. The audio alerts could easily be programmed to only go off during the do-not-disturb period if there is movement of the phone, otherwise it can wait until the users are awake. The technology and know-how are available; we just have to take advantage of it.


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