Thursday, July 05, 2012

Social Earthquake

(source unknown, I grabbed it from facebook)

One aspect of earthquakes these days that we never experienced as kids is the social media one. Within minutes of the earthquake the other night we were on-line, not so much to participate as to seek information. Who felt what, and where? Was this local, or something bigger somewhere else?

A friend of mine astutely pointed out the following:
There are 3 groups of people on FB this evening. The first are those who are commenting on the earthquake with a few Fbombs thrown in. The second group are those sharing articles and info re readings and depths etc. or quoting friends comments from other pages. And then there are those who are critiquing the speed at which one was able to gather data via various sources. 
I found myself in all three groups. I posted a "wow that was long" status on facebook then got down to the critiquing, even of my own observations (my allowance for time dilation in estimating the quake duration was way off ), and participated in a thread on who had and hadn't used twitter as an aggregator (I'm not on twitter, so no).

We didn't go as far as this guy who tweeted during the event itself, but were quickly on facebook and other forums while waiting for the official word from Geonet. That both the power and web access were still up to enable this was a good sign, and we found it a useful quick and dirty way of getting an idea of what was going on, before adding to the discussion ourselves. There was a "Me Too!" aspect (and if I'm honest a "First!" aspect as well :) ) as people informed and collectively reassured each other, but what was more interesting was the way the discussions broke down into comparison and analysis. This particular (anecdotally at least proven to be true) XKCD also came up: "Seismic Waves" .

It was both a "we really are living in the future" moment, and a great example of how web can really work.

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