Online social media plays great role in responding to Canterbury earthquake #eqnz

I am quite impressed by the role of online social media in the recent
(ongoing) Canterbury earthquake. The earthquake hit Christchurch
(epicentre was in Darfiled about 40 km west of Christchurch) on the
early hours of Saturday morning about 4:36 AM. Apparently, according
to a few bloggers, right then some people started putting together
tweets from under their beds or tables or hallways, or wherever they
could find themselves in.
As the day progressed, one could find out from tweets and facebook
messages the situation with the city, the traffic condition, where to
go for getting essential supplies, and so on. if you followed the
tweets (hashtag #eqnz but that was set up on the 5th September or
thereabouts), or facebook updates you would be able to pretty much
follow what was going on, and you could organize your life to get
around this pretty much unique situation in life (this was a major
earthquake in 70 years!)

I didn’t really realize the near therapeutic value of tweeting till i
started tweeting myself the updates on the several shockwaves that
rattled us for the next 48 hours (at the time of writing this we are
still experiencing aftershocks) and we had nearly 100 after shocks
some of them over 5.2. It was really hard last night (night of 6th
September), when one after the other after shockwaves rattled the city
in spates of five minute intervals. If you tweeted then, you’d see
that you were not alone and using hashtags like #eqnz and searching
the tweets you could see that there were people awakened by the jolts
and were wrtiting and expressing. All of a sudden, the fear factor
started weaning and you could feel the presence of an “invisible”
community around you writing, talking, cursing :-), discussing the
events that would take your mind off from the experience.

Then the university of Canterbury set up their facebook site
(http://www.facebook.com/pages/UC-Earthquake-Recovery/149784338378481)
and then their twitter site (http://twitter.com/ucquakerecovery). The
updates were fast and relevant and one could get updates real time. I
think it’sa point of real triumph as a group of students used facebook
to mobilize other students and started a cleanup campaign for the
earthquake ravaged city.

Amazing stuff.

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