Twitter was highly successful in communicating critical information during the Christchurch earthquake, the Department of Internal Affairs says.
As well as delivering information from a variety of agencies, the microblogging site was an efficient way to direct people to local information and services, and in some cases to correct misinformation, department spokesman Stephen Crombie said.
"Many affected people did not have access to desktop computers either at home or at work, but mobile data services remained available for many residents," said Crombie.
"Twitter provided a mobile-friendly means of getting critical information out.
"During the first few days following the quake, staff worked round the clock from Wellington, the Wairarapa, Dunedin, and Christchurch providing information to people in the Christchurch area, and relaying enquiries to the National Crisis Management Centre."
Crombie said approximately 5000 messages were tweeted by government staff in the three weeks following the February earthquake.
He said Twitter was also a useful addition to the traditional channels of television and radio to communicate with New Zealanders.
Now the focus has moved from response to recovery, Knowledge Information, Research and Technology staff, as well as Civil Defence continue to work with Christchurch City Council and the newly-formed Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority to ensure Twitter followers receive updates.