Like many of you, I heard about the Chino Hills, CA earthquake via my Twitter friends. After watching all the reports from my twitter friends scroll across my window, I realized the value of Twitter in emergency situations.
Never before have we had such a medium to share breaking news as it happens with thousands of people at once. The ability to get news out instantly has always been in the hands of television and radio. With services like Twitter, you can now get information out quickly and you can get the viewpoints from countless people. This is a great way gather reports from thousands of first party reports about any incident, whether its an earthquake, tornado, hurricane or any other kind of disaster. With reports of cell phone outages in the L.A. area from the earthquake, it is now clear how much value Twitter has as a means of telling your family and friends that you are ok.
While Twitter seems to get a real workout during major events like the Super Bowl or MacWorld, I have never seen my feed move as fast as it did today with the earthquake. Considering it was down earlier in the day, I’m very impressed that Twitter didn’t go down under the pressure. Assuming Twitter remains stable, I think it will continue to have an increased impact in breaking news situations. From letting people know what is going on, to saying you are ok, to organizing disaster efforts, Twitter will continue to carve out a place as a tool for spreading disaster information.