Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Speed of Social Media

Today a utility worker damaged power lines and knocked out power to a chunk of Clark County - 4800 people were without power.

What is interesting is not the power service loss - the power company will quickly restore it and everyone will soon forget - but that social media has quickly reported this phenomenon. Over three hours ago KOIN news posted on their twitter and website that power was out, and OEM's own twitter re-tweeted it. But that same news won't be reported on tv news, radio or newspaper until this evening - long after the event has happened.

There have been numerous stories about regular Internet users being able to post information during disasters at times when officials do not have the resources to collect the information fast enough. Now we see traditional media quickly reporting news via Twitter!

Ironically, as I'm writing this article I find out through CNN that there may have been a tornado in Minneapolis. NOAA reported a possible tornado, but officials are still have not positively identified the storm as a tornado - merely a severe thunderstorm.

Right now it is 3:15 PM. A quick search on twitter for the hashtag #tornadompls found the following: This was photographed by a cell phone from a car and uploaded to twitpics 2 hours ago!

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