Today, crewmembers from an air ambulance service located near Wirral in Northwest England held their first ever “tweet day.”
The purpose of the social networking event was to give local residents a look at what the men and women who make up air ambulance crews do every day. Throughout the day, Northwest England residents got a valuable glimpse into the day-in-day-out activities of the emergency air ambulance service that relies on their contributions to keep it flying.
The innovative event the air ambulance service came up with to engage the community appears by all measures to have been a considerable success. Throughout “tweet day,” North West Air Ambulance gained a huge influx of Twitter followers, with their twitter briskly overtaking the 4,000 follower milestone just hours ago (and, at the time of this blog, they are nearing 4,060 followers).
Paramedics, pilots, and staff alike all sent tweets through the main @NWAirAmbulance public Twitter account. The official event tweets contained the hashtag #nwaatweet (click to open a listing of the top/all tweets containing the air ambulance tweet day tag in a new window).
If you take a quick look at the hashtag feed, you’ll notice that there are as many — if not more — tweets from other accounts not belonging to NW air ambulance employees. People really got involved and shared the tag, spreading the news of the Twitter event, increasing engagement and followers of the air ambulance service itself.
The Twitter event lasted all day today (May 4, 2012) and consisted of roughly 7-15 tweets each hour from different people associated with the air ambulance charity. The resulting effect was a 24-hour “live tracking” of sorts that proved to be very popular with Twitter users in the region.
The proof of the tweet day’s popularity can be seen in the sheer number of people and organizations that retweeted and favorited the #nwaatweet live-tweets. The air ambulance service also got a chance to engage with Twitter users one on one, answering questions about missions and leading to numerous, polite back-and-forths.
Similar to many other emergency air ambulance services in the UK, North West Air Ambulance is funded by voluntary, charitable contributions. Thus, raising awareness of the important, lifesaving missions that air medical crew members carry out every day is especially important. The Twitter-centric day performed the double-purpose of raising awareness and showing people exactly how their donations are actually spent — all in real time.
Lynda Brislin, chief executive of the North West Air Ambulance, said: “As a charity which relies so heavily on the generosity of the public, we wanted to give our supporters the chance to see what is achieved through their kind donations.” (Wirral Globe)
Having a tweet day is a fantastic idea for an air ambulance service to gain followers, spread awareness, and nurture interest in their lifesaving activities — activities which, at least here in the United States, seem to go slightly less noticed by the general populace. This, at least when compared to the seeming unbridled enthusiasm, elaborate fundraising events, and great lengths regular people are willing to go to in order to keep their local air ambulances fueled-up and flying overhead.
What is your air ambulance doing to nurture interest and awareness among the over-social-networked general public?