Ok folks, you have probably wondered where I have been the last month or so. We were in the enrollment period for our statewide Blackboard classes. Only working at enrolling 50,000 students or so. With a staff of 5. So I have been a bit busy.
But today, I want to spend a little time talking about a product I found several months ago, and have been testing out privately. Until today. When I decided to deploy it publicly for folks in the state of Mississippi, and possibly Louisiana or Alabama.
The product is called Celly.
Celly is a free web-based SMS text messaging system that can be used by anyone to create “cells” with which they can communicate. The website is http://Cel.ly and it is fantastic. I have been trying to think of a way to prove to educators that Celly is a perfect tool with which to communicate timely info to students, parents, and constituents of school systems in Mississippi. With Tropical Storm, soon to be Hurricane, Isaac heading into the gulf of Mexico, I decided to show off what Celly can do.
First I created a public ALERT ONLY cell called @MSHurricanes. The cell is open to the public. People can join the cell to get SMS text messages about the status of Isaac. By using the receptor feature, I have set the cell to send ONLY message Tweeted by the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency, Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant, The National Weather Service in Jackson, MS and the Director of the National Hurricane Center. And it will only search for Tweets that are specifically about Isaac and it’s impact on Mississippi. Therefore, people who opt to receive the text messages with only get “Official” information. This will make the information more timely, and you will know that the message is important. It will also cut down on the number of messages that might be running through a Twitter timeline.
The great thing about Celly is that the creator of the cell controls the content. And all messages sent out by your cell are archived. So you can always go back and see if any bad or mis-information was texted out. Imagine if Celly had been around when Katrina blew through Mississippi and Louisiana in 2005.
I will be tracking the progress of the cell, the number of users, the number of messages sent out, and how the official info varies from typical Twitter timelines.
If you would like to opt in to the system to see how it works, just text @MSHurricanes to 23559 to receive messages and see what you think. Would love feedback. And thanks to the founders of Celly for creating this. Just sorry to have the occasion of Isaac to test it out and shows it’s versatility and helpfulness to anyone opting to use it.
- Isaac nearing the Florida Keys. Could rapidly strengthen! (fox41blogs.typepad.com)
- Isaac on verge of becoming hurricane, watch extends to Louisiana (kdvr.com)
- Isaac set to grow stronger, Gulf region remains on watch (wjla.com)
- Possible Isaac Landfall Near Mobile? (valleywx.com)
- Isaac ‘Could Rival Hurricane Katrina’ (investmentwatchblog.com)
- Miss. Gulf Coast communities keep watchful eye on Isaac (wwltv.com)