Last week during the fires in Austin Texas I decided to help out my friend Shawn Collins with a link to the Austin Fire department so he could hear what was happening with the fires since his house was very near to the fires and he had to be evacuated. I am a geek when it comes to listening to fires online. Guess it is my old volunteer fireman days in me that makes me want to know exactly what is happening when I hear fire trucks. When I hear fire trucks in the neighborhood I am on the New York City FD frequency listening in and when they give an address I am usually looking at a street view of the fire building before the fire trucks are even there.
So I get the channel for the Austin Fire Department and put it out on twitter figuring if anyone else was in the same situation they could listen also. The fire department speaks in codes but they do give out addresses and such so I figured it may be useful to others.
I was not doing this to get traffic but to help people out. Seriously it wasn't a good traffic builder anyway since it wasn't a tweet leading to my website in the first place. Well this morning I check my twitter stats and I see this huge number of tweets clicked on. At first I was surprised at it and was wondering what did I tweet that could have that much traction. I had forgotten all about the tweet and sure enough 141 people clicked on the link.
I was thinking it would be smart to use a hashtag #austin so I did that in my next tweet which didn't get as much traction but since it was only a few minutes after tweeting out the first link people were already listening. I also tweeted out pictures to the fire map and the pictures from the air. All of these getting a little traction.
Who knew that trying to be helpful could get traction like this. I am sure there is a way to use this to drive traffic back to your sites if you wanted to. I got enough just trying to be helpful.