In an exchange captured by Buzzfeed, Mark Zuckerberg’s sister and former marketing director Randi Zuckerberg posted a candid family photo on Facebook about “the family’s reaction to the site’s new ‘Poke’ app.”
Vox Media’s Callie Schweitzer saw the photo in her Facebook newsfeed and tweeted it. Zuckerberg objected.
“This is a test of the Emergency Broadcast System! This is only a test….”
For almost 50 years, television and radio stations have broadcast this test message (“broadcast” was replaced with “alert” in 1997). But alerts are now coming straight to our smartphones via the Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) or Personal Localized Alerting Network (PLAN).
[C]ustomers who own an enabled mobile device [will] receive geographically-targeted, text-like messages alerting them of imminent threats to safety in their area. The new technology ensures that emergency alerts will not get stuck in highly congested user areas, which can happen with standard mobile voice and texting services. [The Commercial Mobile Alert System] CMAS was established pursuant to the Warning, Alert and Response Network (WARN) Act.
CMAS alerts are transmitted using a new technology that is separate and different from voice calls and SMS text messages. This new technology ensures that emergency alerts will not get stuck in highly congested user areas, which can happen with standard mobile voice and texting services.
…. and it seems too weird to be true. What do you do?
You ask on Facebook and Twitter.
And if you’re me, you start poking around, looking for an explanation.
It seems that the where-the-heck-did-that-come-from alerts are provider-specific: there are reports from iPhone customers on Verizon and T-Mobile but no reports (yet) on AT&T. I have AT&T service but have not received an alert that I had not knowingly signed up for.
Just saw this in my mailbox.
Want pay-as-you-go service?
Prepare to be treated like a red-headed-stepchild:
This post on the future of online video news is part of the September Carnival of Journalism.
The history of online video production and distribution is one of fragmentation (competing formats and players) followed by easy-uploads-with-inferior quality (YouTube); one of dissatisfaction with the cross-browser and cross-platform work-around (Flash) with hopes pinned on a new savior for rich media, HTML5.