May 12, 2008

China Earthquake: Twittering the disaster live

China has been hit by a 7.8 scale earthquake. Video sharing sites and 140 character twitter messages are bringing the latest updates to the world from the citizen journalists on the ground. And they are more resourceful than the mainstream media who are only starting to react to the news.

Mathew Ingram says about Twitter:
In any disaster, one of the first things that people look for — not just journalists, but readers too — is the eyewitness account, the first-person description, the man on the scene. Whenever something like the earthquake happens, thousands of editors and producers at newspapers, radio programs and TV networks clog the phones trying to reach someone, anyone, who can provide a personal account: they call homes, schools, stores, friends, distant relatives. What was it like? Where were you when it happened? What happened next?

Twitter is able to supply all of those things — and it’s also self-directed. People can post messages about whatever they wish, rather than answering only the questions that a producer asks them.
Keep an eye on Global Voices Online which is bringing more and more news from the ground.


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