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Tag Archives: Earthquake

To find out the latest news, you used to have to wait for the morning paper, or the evening news. Now, with Twitter, the latest news is at your fingertips, within seconds.

The Chile Earthquake was rated at VII on the Mercalli scale.

 On February 27th 2010, an earthquake registering 8.8 on the Moment Magnitude Scale (or VII (Very Strong) on the Mercalli intensity scale)) hit Chile. Using micro-blogging site Twitter, survivors were able to tell the world what had happened, and people were updated before any major media outlet could find out.  

With rates of over 2000 tweets per minute, information was immediately available, and managed to alert other news sources, so that coverage became more mainstream.  

Lost and Found

One Twitter user, Sheryl Breuker, was able to find her sister in-law by using hashtags (a way to comment on a worldwide group of items, such as #chile or #quake). A user based in Chile was able to go around asking for her, and in just two hours, was able to find her and confirm she was ok. Considering phone lines were down, this short time shows just how powerful Twitter can be.  

Google launched a Person Finder after the Chile Earthquake, with 22,900 entries created within a weekend of its release. Available in Spanish and English, Google’s tool has been used to find people after the disaster.  

Other websites, such as Flickr and YouTube, were able to upload pictures and videos of what had happened, with visually striking media showing the destruction the earthquake caused. Ustream, a live streaming website for people to watch videos, claim to have had over 4.3 million people watch the resulting Tsunami in Hawaii, with a pre recorded version here.  

Destruction surrounds the only open bridge over the Bio Bio river in Concepcion, Chile. Photo: Getty Images

  The British Red Cross’s photostream on Flickr has been able to show the damage caused by the Earthquake; showing inside damaged homes, people waiting for food and help, and behind the scenes of one of the biggest natural disasters.  

Facebook users were able to update constantly with the group CHILE EARTHQUAKE, helping people who do not use sites such as Twitter more aware of the disaster.  

A destroyed cathedral in Chanco, 180 miles away from where the Earthquake started in Santiago, Chile. Photo: Roberto Candia

Social Media Phenomenon 

Using blogs, tweets and sites such as Facebook to communicate with the world is known as ‘social news media’, and this is now the main way users discover, read and share the latest news. 

Twitter- a microblogging site used to get information quickly

 There are some key aspects to social news media: it has to be breaking information, newsworthy, and relevant.  

Some feel that Social Media could be the “Biggest shift since the Industrial Revolution”, and with over 400 million users on Facebook, and 100 million users of Twitter, both sites are increasing rapidly in usage.  

Social media is able to get information out quickly and concisely, and although it is the more traditional media who will publish an official story, most technology friendly users will find out the news on these sites, such as Twitter.  

To Tweet?

Twitter, the latest gossip and news, and ways of communicating (via email or instant messaging) are now available and widely used by users ‘on the go’ using the latest mobiles. This means that people no longer have to wait for the daily newspapers, but can find what they want themselves, in minutes.