Social media in a tsunami

This morning I woke up (without an alarm…bliss!), and went over to my computer. Switched it on, and headed onto my emails and then Facebook – yes, I seem to be obsessed.  I’d not switched the radio or television on, and I definitely hadn’t seen the papers.

Checking out the homepage, my heart did a little flip when the live feed. One was from my aunty (or second cousin once removed…we’re related anyway…) who said this:

Gill Montgomery

Dan is ok , but I’m not ! Think I need a stiff drink … Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone in japan….

Dan is Gill’s youngest son, who is over in Japan at the minute as part of his University course. What the heck had happened?!

As I looked down the feed it was clear it was something big, but nobody was saying exactly what. I went straight over to BBC online and found that whilst I’d been blissfully enjoying a lie in, a huge Tsunami had hit Japan.

It’s a tragedy, and my heart goes out to all those affected by the disaster.

What has struck me though, is that social media was the first thing that flagged up to me that something big had happened. And of all the social media, it was Facebook!

News channels will be covering the disaster live over the next fews hours, and following it for days as relief efforts go into full swing.

So how will they harness social media in their coverage?

No doubt regional news will be looking for local people out in Japan that are willing to talk about what has happened and give first hand accounts of the event, twitter feeds will be monitored to check up on rescue attempts and the search for missing loved ones, and citizen journalism will really be exploited via uploaded videos and photos from those in the area.

For journalists in the UK, social media is a god send in covering these events. It adds another, more human interest element to coverage – after all it’s the people and emotion that makes a good news story great.

We will also look to social media as days progress (and depending on the extent of the damage) to fundraising groups that will be set up and aid relief is sent to the area.

My greatest sympathies with all who are affected by this.

Looking back to Facebook, it seems that Dan is ok…

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One Response to Social media in a tsunami

  1. It serves as informers do for police isn’t it? You can’t possibly know everything about everyone, everywhere. World’s too big for that! But with everyone’s live participation in social media, information gets chanelled on to one common platform. It’s a blessing all right.

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