Twitter Used To Report Earthquake

    May 12, 2008

Twitter doesn’t always work well; its frequent outages have earned it all sorts of negative attention.  It has at least partially redeemed itself, though, as Twitter was one of the first sites on which news of the earthquake in China appeared.

Robert Scoble writes, "I was watching Twitter on Google Talk.  Several people in China reported to me they felt the quake WHILE IT WAS GOING ON!!!"  Then, "I reported the major quake to my followers on Twitter before the USGS Website had a report up and about an hour before CNN or major press started talking about it."

Robert Scoble
 Robert Scoble Used Twitter To Report Earthquake

Twitter’s ability to beat these other sources is impressive.  People value timeliness, especially when such important things are at stake, and some previously uninterested folks may check out Twitter as a result.  Entities like the BBC are attempting to embrace it, too.

Just the same, the service might not wind up with a lot of new fans.  News organizations are sure to focus most of their time and money on their own sites, and news junkies who try to follow a wider range of Twitter users will see irrelevant stuff.  ("I don’t know why I talk to jerks.  My photos have won awards and a picture I made of Reagan is still hanging in SV’s repub headqrts," Scoble tweeted before the earthquake began.)

At least Twitter remained in working order, though.  Even if its performance after the earthquake doesn’t guarantee success, another outage would hard to forgive.