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A Citizen’s Eye View of Public Preparedness

Chinese Earthquake Response Highlights Growing Role For Personal Emergency Preparedness 2.0

May 13th, 2008 · 2 Comments

The aftermath of the major earthquake that struck central China has underscored the importance and potential of personal technology in helping the public deal with major disasters. 

As this posting from Matthew Ingram’s 2.0 blog in Canada’s Globe and Mail newspaper explains, Twitter broke the news of the earthquake and its ‘coverage’ has filled a news niche.

Like many others, I woke up this morning to news of a disaster in China: a magnitude 7.8 earthquake in the southwest, with thousands of people either dead or injured. Unlike some, I didn’t get the news from the radio or TV — I got it from Twitter, a group-chat/instant messaging client that has been gaining in popularity as a real-time news application. Much like the forest fires in California last fall and other recent news events, Twitter became one of the main sources of on-the-ground reporting — even before CNN started picking up what was happening, and with more personal detail. According to Search Engine Land, Twitter even beat the U.S. Geological Survey, which tracks quake readings.

It is remarkable how relatively new technologies such as Twitter are helping average citizens report the news and provide information to help the authorities and other people respond to the disaster. As I have discussed previously, these tech applications will develop after an emergency so it makes sense to begin educating us all more about them beforehand.


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Tags: Preparedness 2.0

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 chinese earthquake | Immediate important news // May 13, 2008 at 9:27 am

    [...] reports from people reporting a strong …odd time signatures –|||Chinese Earthquake Response Highlights Growing Role For Personal …Like many others, I woke up this morning to news of a disaster in China: a magnitude 7.8 earthquake [...]

  • 2 Twitter To The Rescue // Jul 2, 2008 at 11:47 am

    [...] In addition to Buck’s example, Twitter’s value as a communications tool in emergencies was underscored after the Chinese earthquake earlier this year.   To me, a key take away from Buck’s story is not only the value of social [...]

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