Twitter Shakes It Up During EarthQuake

Twitter was first media source again today, and here’s the lead in.

St. Louis residents were awakened around 4:30 a.m. by a 5.2 magnitude earthquake centered several miles from West Salem, Illinois. The forceful shaking which lasted nearly a minute. As the shaking stopped, many St. Louis area Twitterers (and beyond) went to their keyboards to discuss damage. This was nearly 30 minutes before any word from the local media.

     The full article, shared on the St. Louis Bloggers Guild, gives a first hand perspective of new media’s impact. Twitter was the source for folks to find out what the all the shake, rattle and roll was about.  Waking to find pictures falling, windows rattling, and dogs going crazy, the TV and radio had nothing to say.

     Has the world turned on it’s ear when the first place people are going for live and important news is online, perhaps to people they’ve never met?  The Bhutto assassination news came to me with live reports relayed from the scene over Twitter. Now that’s speed. With the contacts I have, I can get the unabridged version of what’s said at many televised speaking engagements.  It’s neat to hear a first had report of Hilary Clinton’s remarks as she’s snuck out the back at an appearance and a few stray reporters are there to see.

     It’s not just Twitter were the news comes.  Many of my contacts have not only written blogs, but video blogs, and can do live video recording on their phones.  Talk about exciting to not just have someone tell me the news over Twitter, but to show me.  What better than pictures captured at an event and instantly transmitted across the world.

     Not only has new media brought us new tools, but a whole new sense of community to news.  No longer is an overly primped strong chinned host the only face on the news.  Becky down the street can bring me live coverage of her first walk for Cancer. Sanjib in overseas in the East can share what life is really like there, free from the cleansing of national and international television rules.  Jim in NY can share pictures of the Pope, pictures you won’t see on the news.  Want crowd reaction, why listen to some guy on NPR report on it.  Get it from the folks in the crowd through Twitter, Utterz, and Qik.

     Downsides you say, what about not coming from a professional? Heck, I’ll trade polished and good looking for raw footage any day. I’ll trade super quality video and sound for fresh and interesting as well.  So no, maybe the guy sharing isn’t briefed in world political history, and can’t comment except about how he feels.  But that guy bringing us a fresh view, and a view not likely tied to keeping his reporting job.

     There’s one thing I forgot to mention though in my excitement to brag about new media.  You can’t just tune in and turn it on and get the news.  You can’t just know which of your contacts will bring it to your door, and not even where the news might be about.

     How to get around that? Contacts and quality = value. Lots of contacts isn’t enough if most of them live down the street, though you might be surprised.  Contacts who never engage in conversation and never share, they won’t be of much news value either.  But you can cultivate great contacts.  I’ll leave that for you the reader to think about how to do it.

     To wrap up, is Twitter and such the end all and be all of getting your news? No, but it’s quickly becoming the place in my day to day life that I find out first about breaking news.

     What about you? Has your online network of friends, contacts, and feeds brought new life into finding out about the world around you? Or are you certain that the only good news is brought through nice safe professional channels, like Fox and CNN? Where do you stand?  Is a bloggers voice good enough? Or do you only read the newspaper?  Tell me where you get your info.

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3 Responses to “Twitter Shakes It Up During EarthQuake”

  1. 1 Kerry April 20, 2008 at 1:27 pm

    I’m a big fan of Twitter. At first, I was a little unclear on what the point was, but I really like having news and blog updates quickly. As a blogger, it’s great in that it automatically links to our most recent posts.

    As for news being brought in through “safe, professional” channels, more of those are turning towards Twitter. NPR’s awesome “Bryant Park Project” has a Twitter account that is a great mix of upcoming stories, breaking news, and insight into how radio is made. I really think they’re doing it right.

    Also, Twitter is great for catching up on big news via the New York Times and NPR Newsblog. I think more traditional media outlets could benefit from having Twitter accounts, especially as media consumption shifts toward the internet.

    – Kerry (and if you’re so inclined, I’m on twitter here:

  2. 2 Todd Jordan April 20, 2008 at 2:01 pm


    Thanks for stopping by. I especially appreciate your sharing about the new sources you enjoy on Twitter. I’ve added you as a contact. 🙂

  1. 1 Residents talk about Illinois’ earthquake | Top Videos Trackback on April 19, 2008 at 10:30 am

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