Snow-cial Media Shares Up-To-Date Information - ABC5 News Des Moines, IA

Snow-cial Media Shares Up-To-Date Information

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Jessica Daley

jdaley@myabc5.com

@TheDaleyReport

Between phone numbers, email alerts and websites, there are plenty of ways to find out current road conditions or school closures. You can now add social media to that list.

More and more organizations want people to use social media sites to learn and give up-to-date information.

When you're out braving the roads to get where you need to go, you may want to let others know what to watch out for like ice, an accident, or blowing snow.

This is the first storm the Iowa DOT is asking travelers to use the Twitter hastag #iatraffic to inform others and the DOT of what the roads are like.

"We can't be out on the road 24/7/365, but somebody's out there 24/7/365, and we think we can take advantage of that," said Bob Younie, the DOT's state maintenance engineer.

The DOT is monitoring those tweets to see what they can do to improve a situation.

"If somebody sees something they think we need to do, particularly a safety-related issue, we really want to know about it," he said.

The DOT especially wants to hear from professional truck drivers who are used to driving in all sorts of weather and know what roads should be like.

If you do want to post anything to your social media sites, remember to not do it while driving. Make sure to pull over.

Also make sure your phone's geotag feature is enabled so your location will be tagged in photos or videos. That way the DOT can find the location.

Schools are following the trend too. When the snow falls, families can turn to Facebook or Twitter to find out if school is closed, delayed or in session.

Metro schools didn't have any snow days last year so this is really the first time they are pushing parents and students to social media.

"It's a great tool because it does get information out quickly," said Elaine Watkins-Miller, the West Des Moines Community Schools' Director of School Community Relations. "We can answer questions right away, if there are questions, about any aspect of that."

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