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  • Writer's picturejeannettesutton

When to use a URL for more information...


WEA sent 1/4/2023


In 2019 the FCC approved WEA 2.0, allowing alert originators to add a URL to their WEA message text. The reasoning behind this is simple: 90-character messages increase milling (searching for information before taking action), so if you give people a url, they'll go to the source rather than search. Since then there has been plenty of discussion about how to include a URL (.gov to increase trust, bit.ly to reduce the number of characters, Facebook to increase ability to update content easily and to reduce overloading web traffic on a hosted website, etc.). However, the use of a URL was never, to my knowledge, discussed as a replacement for a warning message. In this example from 1/4/2023, the entire message drives milling. This automatically precludes delayed action. Until a message receiver takes the time to click, open, and read the additional web content, they will have no idea why the message was sent, its urgency, or the actions they should take to keep safe. In this case, the URL directs people to a message about potential mud slide and debris flow in the area of a burn scar due to heavy rain. Should there have been a necessity to act immediately, people receiving this message would have delayed before taking action. That's the outcome it was designed to produce.

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