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Twitter launches a ‘Lifeline’ for Japan

The role that Twitter plays in keeping people connected in local communities and across the globe is a big one.

We're able to see live updates of what is happening in different countries around the world and also scope a better understanding of what their current situations are.

This is especially useful in countries affected by civil unrest or natural disasters, with residents able to communicate with smartphones to Twitter about what they're seeing or experiencing.

Images can even capture their current situation, with many media outlets today encouraging everyday citizens to send in footage of an event.

Last week the Tokyo Twitter team launched the new feature Lifeline to help Japanese users find vital information when they need it most.

A blog post by Twitter product manager Jinen Kamdar explained that Lifeline will be used in moments of crisis such as "natural disasters and when other communication services are difficult to reach".

People can find and follow important local accounts in Japan by searching their postal code on Twitter.

"If there’s an earthquake in the Aobadai district of Yokohama, for instance, people can use Lifeline to find a variety of timely accounts — those tweeting about the earthquake and sharing updates from the district (Aobadai), city (Yokohama), and prefecture (Kanagawa) governments; they can also find accounts from local media and utility companies providing information about gas, water or electricity," Kamdar posted.

The Lifeline is only available in Japan for the time being, where Twitter joined the Prime Minister's Lifeline Commission and worked with local and regional governments to find the most relevant accounts for the postal codes.

Kamdar states that Twitter is often used as a "de facto lifeline" during crises and he hopes that they can expand the new Lifeline feature to more places around the world.

Posted by April Revake.