Disaster Tweeting

Posted on: March 16, 2011

The seventh most powerful eartquake ever recorded hit the coast of Japan causing widespread outages, fires, a severe tsunami and complete devastation. Twitter is quickly becoming the go-to service in emergencies, and the reaction on the site was worldwide, immediate and intense. It became an invaluable tool for millions of people caught up in the aftermath of the eartquake. According to Tweet-o-Meter, the number of tweets coming from Tokyo were topping 1,200 every minute, less than an hour after the quake.

The horrendous scenes from Japan were the talk of Twitter for days, as people shared news, information and video streams. People offered their best wishes to those who were suffering. This support and information was helpful for many people, particularly because phonelines were down and updates on Twitter were sometimes more immediate than mainstream media. Social networking sites like Twitter became a lifeline for many people hours after the quake struck. Videos posted on Twitter were viewed by hundreds of thousnads of people before the mainstream media rebroadcasted them.

Twitter was also very useful in the crisis because users shared the tsunamis estimated time of arrival on US shores, before the government gave and official warning.  Google’s official feed posted a link to the Japanese version of the People Finder, for loved ones who had been seperated.


1 Response to "Disaster Tweeting"

Twitter went from a microblogging site, where tweets concerned people personal thoughts to a news site where thousand of news reports spread per minute.It established the name of a trust worthy service where people have access to any subject of our contemporary society. In relation to the Japan tsunami disaster several online media platforms mentioned the subject’s dimension on Twitter. According to the online version of “The Mirror” newspaper, the main topic, which concerned thousands of Twitter users, was the Japanese Earthquake. People through the dynamic micro blogging site share links and exchanged information regarding the horrific scenes of the tsunami. The reaction of the twitter users seemed to be as you stated intense and instantaneous, enabling Twitter to be at the heart of the news and people’s preference in order to be informed. Even more interesting was the fact that people not only shared information but also offered their wishes to the victims of the natural disaster. A phenomenon was the 177 million tweets on that day. Nonetheless what is worth looking is what some analytical Twitter applications have captured on that day.
Twitter trend terms:

Twitter trend map:

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