Monday, June 18, 2012

Why I Unsubscribed from Arlington Alert @Arlingtonva @Arlingtonalert

It's simple: I dont live in Fairfax.

We live in a great era where urgent messages from your government can be delivered to you where ever you are on whatever device you have.  If there is something urgent you need to know, they can let you know.  You can also tailor those alerts to your specific concerns.  Instead of the old broadcast TV alerts which were for the entire Washington DC metropolitan area, you can have alerts specific to Arlington.  And if you work in Washington DC, you can subscribe to Washington D.C.'s alerts.  And if you never venture into Fairfax, you dont have to listen to Fairfax alerts.

I live in Arlington.  I dont work or live in Fairfax.  But repeatedly Arlington Alerts sends out alerts about Fairfax:
Arlington Alert: Fairfax CEAN reports: EB Little River turnpike closed at John Marr Dr for downed wires: Fairfax...
Now there are a couple of problems with this.  First, if you send out noise in your alert system, you train people to ignore your alerts (kind of like the old broadcast TV system - kind of like running too many fire drills so that everyone always just assumes "its just another drill"). You dont want people ignoring alerts.  Second, if you send out enough alerts, people will turn off your service.

Arlington Alerts regularly sends out alerts for places that are not Arlington.  Enough.  I have unsubscribed.  This is not good.


  1. Robert, my name is Jeff and I work with the County's Office of Emergency Management. I understand the concern of too many alerts. Within the arlington alert profile there are many groups one can sign up for, such as customers who live in Arlington but work in Fairfax. I would recommend if you would still like to receive some alerts (and we hope you do), that you log in and remove the other groups from your profile. If that does not work,or does not apply to you, give us a call and we would be more than happy to talk to you.

  2. The specific problem is with Arlington Alert twitter feed which cannot be so customized. I have asked repeatedly what @Arlingtonalert issues alerts for Fairfax and event Montgomery County, and received no answer.

  3. And I would note that Jeffrey who says he works in ArlCo Emergency Management, and I should contact him - provides no email address and no phone number. #nothelpful

    1. Robert, you can call me at 703-228-7939. The issue with the twitter feed is two fold, one is that it is not the official Arlington Alert twitter feed from Arlington County, and second is that it simply takes the RSS feed which is correct, it is not customizable. The @Arlingtonalert twitter account is actually not a County employee. If you want to call me I would be more than happy to provide some more information.

  4. @arlingtonalerts is using the Arlington logo, and you have clear confusion.... seems like its a violation of the Twitter TOS and of trademark lawyer. But who am I to say (other than a confused Arlington citizen)