29 Responses to “Twittermergency”

  1. Gloria says:

    Well, according to the story, she could have also just texted someone. It’s more like “text-based communication has saved a life!” rather than Twitter, per se.

    This IS coming from someone who has a crud non-smart phone, so maybe I’m just trying not to worry how my frugality is dooming me to a lonely death in the woods.

  2. Raines Cohen says:

    I was surprised to see that, despite having zero bars on a digital (T-Mobile) network in Northern CA just North of Cloverdale a few years back, the phone switched to analog mode (not otherwise supported in normal phone operation) for a 911 call and it made it through. Presumably there are other fallback modes available now that analog cell service has been discontinued; I do know that free digital roaming via subcontracted carriers appears to cover many rural areas not covered by the primary network operator.

  3. Anonymous says:

    So she didn’t have enought coverage for voice, but did for data? Odd.

    • Michael Smith says:


      Maybe a data service can retry while the owner of the phone moves around, then silently send the message.

  4. nuke_you says:

    I’m calling BS…If you have enough cell signal to tweet or txt then you have enough signal to make a call.

    • Itsumishi says:

      I’m calling bullshit on your statement. There are plenty of situations where text messages will get through where phone calls won’t connect at all. Try making a call whilst at a camping music festival with poor coverage. You’ll virtually never get through whilst texts will sit in your phone trying over and over again to connect and when they do they only need a small amount of signal strength for a few seconds before they send. They also have the advantage of sitting on a server somewhere until whoever you’ve texted comes into a small amount of signal. Whereas a call requires both ends of the connection to be in range, with more signal strength for a longer period of time. Not applicable in the case of calling 911, but certainly it proves your statement incorrect.

      If she was just on the edge of one cell towers reception (i.e. no other carrier to switch to) then it wouldn’t matter if 911 will roam automatically or not. A text message to an individual might not be read for a long while. 1 text message to 1,000 followers is a much safer bet.

  5. tsdguy says:

    Great that this story ended happily. However, you’ll have to color me skeptical on the circumstances. She had no signal to put in a 911 call which works across any provider but she was able to establish a network connection, log on to her Twitter account and send off a tweet?

    I would believe this more readily if she had been saved by a text message. It’s been well established that in times of poor cell reception or saturated cell towers, an SMS message can get through.

    Wonder if it’s a case of mistaken technical identity?

    • Anonymous says:

      You don’t have to login to Twitter to update. You can text message from your phone to 40404 I think it is and text messaging will oftentimes sit there and try to find a moment when there is just enough signal to send the message, so yeah, it’s feasible this happened.

    • cls says:

      You can tweet via text, no logging in required.

  6. Blackbird says:

    Twitter would be better since you have more than one person your sending it to (unlike a txt).

    A county in Iowa started taking texts last year, it takes longer, but if your low on power, or deaf/mute, this is a good alternative.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I’m guessing that as she only tried calling a friend, rather than 911 that her friend was the one who didn’t have a signal.

  8. BennyMcBenBen says:

    She should have tried dialing 0118 999 881 999 119 725 3. It’s easy to remember and I always get through!

  9. benjymous says:

    She might’ve tweeted via SMS, of course, which would make sense, if you think about it – there’s a chance the person she texted might not read the message for a few hours, whereas, as Blackbird pointed out, she obviously knew she had Twitter followers who were likely to see her message.

    Likewise, with SMS, most phones will just keep trying and trying until they manage to get a message through, when there’s low signal.

  10. Wordguy says:

    The circumstances are quite reasonable in my experience:

    - In my house and at the office I often have trouble making a cell call, while texting works just fine.

    - Before I got a smart phone I tweeted via texting, after having set up my plain ol’ cell phone as a mobile device on my Twitter account.

  11. Anonymous says:

    what I call BS on, is that she was supposedly far into the woods, yet an ambulance arrived in minutes?

    • Moriarty says:

      Yeah, the article says a “300 acre wood,” which is less than half a square mile. Not deep in the woods. But I guess all that matters is she was too far away to yell for help while injured.

    • Blackbird says:

      It doesn’t say the ambulance arrived in minutes, that she HEARD it minutes later. She didn’t know where she was in the woods, it’s very possible that she was only 100 yards from a road. Being lost does not always equate with being ‘far’ away from civilization.

  12. rebdav says:

    Is it possible to SMS 911 in the US?
    In Israel SMS messages are converted to synthesized voice if you send to a landline number so I suppose it might work here.

    • dragonfrog says:

      I was just going to say – you really should be able to send SMS messages to 911, for just this sort of situation.

  13. MichaelRN says:

    It’s been done. During the Mumbai terrorist attacks, a teenager hiding in a closet in one of the hotel rooms txted the locations of the terrorists to the police.

  14. romulusnr says:

    Just think, we will soon be hearing from all the wireless companies how you should sign up for unlimited texting because it could save your life!

    And it’s much cheaper than the wireless companies rolling out E911 and AGPS and all that!

  15. bitman362 says:

    The unreal humans were unwilling or unable to help?

  16. Eli says:

    You should dial 911 even if you don’t think you have a signal. Your phone will “roam” onto any compatible network (with a high priority bit set). So even if your T-Mobile phone has no service, you can call for help over AT&T’s network.

  17. Ocker3 says:

    A coherent voice call requires sustained periods of connection and higher power usage, a data transmission is much shorter, requiring less power usage and a shorter sustained connection. We don’t Know that she wouldn’t be able to get through to 911 due to special features, but neither did she. A tech-savvy person might suspect such a feature, but your average user may not.

  18. minamisan says:

    sadly, most of my twitter followers are spammers and ebusiness marketers, so the only response I’d get would be an invitation to a seminar on how my website could make me a million dollars.

  19. teapot says:

    Yeah this is BS. As many have already pointed out, even when there is no standard network reception (which she clearly had if she tweeted) you can often still make emergency calls.

    The emergency number “112″ is used in various countries as the mobile phone emergency number:

    It won’t get you through when you are out of mobile service range, but what it does do is use any available network (not just the one who is your service provider) to connect the call. It also overrides network priorities, so if the mobile network is busy (think straight after NYE countdown) your call will still get through.

    This is a real twittermergency:

  20. signsofrain says:

    Those who call Twitter useless… well, it saved a life. What did you do today?

  21. Anonymous says:

    Glad to hear she’s okay. The article says she tried calling a friend and didn’t get through. But don’t give up on 911 just yet. As I understand, many times you can use extra power (although I couldn’t find a source for this), phone network priority, or roaming capability when making 911 calls.


    • scionofgrace says:

      You’re right. In the U.S., any powered mobile phone that’s in range of a cell tower can make a 911 call, regardless of what network it’s on, or if it’s on a network at all.

      But does texting get through on a worse/weaker signal?

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