Like many people all over the world Arjen and me (Sam) from the Twittercounter team are stuck. We’re in San Francisco after attending the Chirp conference. While we’re waiting to be flown back to Amsterdam in time for The Next Web conference we’re noticing that the Twitter accounts of several airlines had a huge increase in their follower counts over the last couple of days. Take, for example, the @KLM account. It shows how in the last couple of days they’ve gained hundreds of followers.
Airlines usage of Twitter in a large-scale crisis such as this signifies the importance of using social media in reaching out to a large audience in real-time. As support desks became overloaded with calls for help, airlines used Twitter to keep everyone up-to-date with the situation at any given time, linking to important webpages and news stories as they evolved over many days. This is clearly reflected in the increase of followers for all accounts.
As a final note, many thanks to the folks behind the @KLM Twitter account, who’ve been providing us with up-to-date information round the clock for the last couple of days.