Japan Quake and Social Media Reporting
A combination of technologies – particularly Twitter and YouTube – are rapidly overtaking mainstream media outlets as the most effective source for fast news reporting, a trend continued by the way those technologies have been used during the on-going natural disaster in Japan.
Twitter has been flooded with tweets about the tsunami – links to news organizations, YouTube videos, to Google’s updated Person Finder, and encouraging people to donate to the Red Cross relief efforts. In fact, within two hours of the beginning of the quake, 12.5% of all tweets made some mention of the tsunami.
At least on Twitter itself, the idea that Twitter is now the go-to news source has become something of an inside joke: around 7:00a.m. EST, Aleksandra Stalmach, a self-described digital media junkie, tweeted “Retweet if you learned about the earthquake over Twitter and not via traditional media.” She was quickly retweeted by hundreds of others.
YouTube has also become a major vector for information about natural disasters and other emergent topics – many news agencies have used amateur video footage culled from YouTube to fill out their coverage of the quake and its after-effects. Their CitizenTube channel is filled with an overwhelming series of clip after clip showing the chaos, devastation, and confusion caused by the quake.
This article is about the role of social media like Twitter and YouTube in the coverage of the massive earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan on Friday – follow the link for on-going TFT coverage.
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