Calgary police constable Jeremy Shaw has 5,144 followers on Twitter. He picked up most of them in about five minutes on June 20, 2013, just as the city was being inundated by flood waters, and not long after his employer was put in Twitter jail. Shaw offered his online services to help get emergency information out to the public after the Calgary police account fell foul of the social media site’s anti-spamming safeguards. Calgary’s emergency services made full use of the online communication tools at their disposal during the floods — Twitter, Facebook, mobile apps — but didn’t count on overuse being a problem. More than 100 tweets an hour, or 1,000 tweets a day, and Twitter’s anti-spam filters kick in and shut down the culprit.
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