Tuesday we had an earthquake in Central Virginia. Maybe you heard about it. As of last night we were still having aftershocks and frankly, I don’t think any of us living here have gotten over the emotional shock of a 5.8 rated quake. I was sitting outside having lunch with my daughter in Charlottesville’s downtown pedestrian mall when the quake hit. It was definitely a WTF? moment as the motion and sound took everyone present a second or two to register the thought, “This is an earthquake.”
It was both hilarious and fortunate for a news junkie like me that people went immediately to Twitter and Facebook to share the earthquake experience. My daughter, 15, went to Facebook; I went to Twitter.
Wednesday night, when we had a 4.5 rated aftershock, many people updated on Twitter, despite it being just past one o’clock in the morning. Twitter, from the first few seconds of the quake, lit up with posts. If you doubted what you were feeling and seeing, Twitter and the community using it around you, provided validation (right; that shaking is not a train going by).
Mashable reported 40,000 earthquake-related tweets within the first minute.
People in New York, far from the quake’s epicenter in Virginia, read tweets a full 30 seconds before the quake was felt where they were.
Twitter is an excellent vehicle for fast-moving news. If you’ve resisted joining and using the platform for any reason, this should convince you to give it a try.