Towards the end of last year, when California suffered one of its worst wildfires in recent history, Twitter became a lifeline for many people. A regular stream of updates, coordinated with a simple tag so that anyone could search for them, provided people quick and vital information.
Now, in the wake of the 7.8 earthquake that hit Chengdu, a major city in China, Twitter has once again been called in to action to be more than the random mini-blogger it started out as.
Graham Webster, an employee with CNet and a resident of Beijing, wrote that “Along with others, I first learned of the quake via Twitter, which has been lit up with first- second- third- and many-hand information about various personal experiences, and hundreds of links to other reports.
Webster pointed to a rumor which had been spread by mainstream media in the region (along with offhand accounts via chat programs like MSN Messenger), that a second massive quake was supposed to hit Beijing between 11pm and midnight that same day.
It was an interested juxtaposition, with the mainstream media getting it dead wrong – according to a press release by the Chinese national earthquake monitoring group – and Twitter providing accurate accounts of what was happening.
were several Twits – as Webster likes to call them – that were
following the quake. Twitter user inwalkedbud first reported the quake
had hit noting that “we just had a massive
earthquake! still alive though!”
Webster followed with notes of aftershocks, the doings of the public outside, and of course the random jokes to lighten the mood.
I’ve always seen a multitude of uses for Twitter, and just like I said with the Californian fires, public awareness and safety is definitely at the top of the list!
Posted by Josh Hill.
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