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Seahawks fan line the streets of Seattle during February's Super Bowl parade.
Seahawks fans line the streets — and trees — of Seattle during February’s Super Bowl parade.

Do a quick social media search for “Seahawks” this afternoon and you’re bound to see countless photos, videos, and other content created in Seattle related to today’s much-anticipated NFL opener between the Seahawks and Packers at CenturyLink Field.

While that’s great for those of us wanting to get a pulse of the crazy environment in the Emerald City tonight, the influx of tweets, Instagram posts and YouTube videos happens to be a big concern for the City of Seattle.

Photo via Flickr user MIke Kline.
Photo via Flickr user MIke Kline.

Jeff Reading, a communications director for Mayor Ed Murray, told MyNorthwest.com that the city wants people to limit their “non-essential mobile conversation” so that cell networks can stay unclogged in case of emergencies.

“We wanted to remind people that it may be better to wait to share their photos, stream videos, and other non-essential mobile conversation to better ensure that emergency phone calls on cell phones can get through,” Reading told MyNorthwest.

The fact that one too many Snapchat videos may delay emergency response tonight in Seattle is quite frankly a little ridiculous — and extremely concerning.

This also brings up an interesting dilemma — is it reasonable for City to ask its citizens to restrict social media use solely based on the fact that private networks can’t handle the amount of bandwidth being used during an event like tonight’s game?

And how many people are actually going to listen to the City and hold off on their smartphone activity? Ideally, all of us, but in reality, likely very few — particularly at an NFL game.

This isn’t the first time that city officials have asked people to ease off on their personal technology use. During the Seahawks Super Bowl parade in February, the Seattle Emergency Operations Center sent an alert that asked people to wean off cell phone use to keep 911 lines open. Then at the Torchlight Parade in July, Seattle Police asked citizens to text friends and family instead of calling.

Perhaps the best fix to this problem is to have companies like Verizon and AT&T expand their network capability. It’s certainly happening to some extent: Last fall, AT&T and Verizon installed a DAS at CenturyLink Field, and this season, Verizon is adding a Wi-Fi network and a new cell site at the stadium.

Otherwise, I’m not too confident in a rabid, drunk Seahawks fan remembering the City’s request to stop posting while he or she uploads a video of Russell Wilson throwing another touchdown pass.

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