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Social Media and the 2010 Earthquake

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David Silversmith
David Silversmith

The most memorable thing of this 2010 Earthquake will be that there were no immediate casualties, but beyond that will also be the role of social media in breaking this story.

The best news from this event is that there have been limited reports of injuries and no reports of missing people. However, many phone and internet connections have been impacted and it may be some hours or days until links are restored.  However, clearly not all connectivity was cut as social media sites have quickly helped to spread the news.

The most personal and immediate news came via Twitter with tweets like:

  • @the4avenues: CRAZY earthquake in #Christchurch this morning! That got me out of bed faster than any alarm-clock.
  • @julierodenberg: 7.4 magnitude earthquake in Christchurch. It shook the water out of the toilet bowl. Crazy!\
  • @sezzyrose: Earthquake woke me up at 4:55am! Broke my wine glass and knocked some stuff around - freaky stuff!!

Along with attempts to use Twitter to locate friends and family as with "Anyone in or near #Wanaka in New Zealand? My brother is there and I was wondering how strong the earthquake was?"

A Facebook group, Earthquakes in New Zealand, has been started but traffic is quite limited so far.  With limited Internet access comments from the affected area are limited and with no loss of life, the outpouring from other parts of the world is limited compared to other natural disasters.

Most of the video on YouTube is from TV news, but there are also videos taken during the earthquake like this one which shows a view from inside of house during the quake

Flickr, is already home to numerous photos of the destruction from this New Zealand earthquake. In addition to photos posted using Creative Commons licensing, you also have enterprising photographers who know that the intenrational media will be looking for photos.  This photostream showing the earthquakes impact, for example, can be licensed for use via Getty images.

Wikipedia, essentially an online encyclopedia, already has an entry for the 2010 Canterbury Earthquake with a note that tThis article documents a current event and information will change rapidly as the event progresses.

The Internet has also been used to begin gathering support resources.  From traditional news reporting like ANZ New Zealand Announces $1m Donation to appeals from the Red Cross and the Salvation Army.

Certainly more news will continue to hit social media as Internet connectivity is restored to Christchurch.

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