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Twitter Emerges as Key Communications Channel in China Quake

Earthquakes772531_3 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.


There 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.


News reporters would be well inclined to follow Twitter updates after such events as these. It is like having your own massive reporter army on the scene, providing updates not only from the local government, etc, but also from their own perspectives.


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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Its hard to tell if this makes Twitter something special, or just outlines the fact that time and time again every form of media becomes unreliable and clogged up with politics, nonsense and hidden agendas. Nothing against Twitter, but I'm thinking its the latter.

Hell, I can't even get Twitter to load three days out of the week. I can't believe it's actually reliable in a time of crisis.

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