As I mentioned in my blog post yesterday about the Christchurch earthquake, I used Twitter as my sole source of information during the disaster.
I jumped on Twitter about 20 minutes after it happened, as did many people throughout Christchurch and the rest of New Zealand. But what amazed me was that some Christchurch tweeps managed to jump onto their Twitter account DURING the quake itself and tweet from under their tables and doorways.
The fact that people were putting their Twitter addiction above their personal safety is a bit alarming, but it’s also an incredible endorsement of Twitter and brings home the impact of social media as a whole on our psyche.
I think back to the last earthquake I witnessed first-hand, the 1989 Newcastle, Australia earthquake (which was only a Richter magnitude 5.6 by the way, making this week’s earthquake 15 times stronger!) and the only connection I had to other people affected by the quake was over the neighbor’s fence until the power came back on a few hours later and the TV reports started dribbling in. Phones were jammed, information was scarce and nobody seemed to really know what happened for hours and hours.
The ability for us to receive news and summon emergency resources instantly is one of Twitter’s best, albeit accidental, advantages. It goes beyond the boundaries of social media and becomes a vital communications tool. Even with all the clever applications that have been developed using the Twitter API, the impact of Twitter’s original functionality in emergency situations like the Christchurch earthquake cannot be underestimated.
I’ve been collecting the first 3 tweets from people after (and even during!) the quake. Emotions were running high, so the f-bomb features in some. If you’re a prude, you might want to look away now. I have linked to the actual tweets as well so you can see their time stamps.
First Tweets After Earthquake at 4.35am, Saturday 4 September 2010:
- QUAKE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (http://bit.ly/davzRM)
- Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuck 7.2 earthquake 30 km from here. We are camping in car right now (http://bit.ly/aEtwO4)
- Quite a bit of damage to our house I fear. Glass breaking, lots of things falling as we ran out. What a horrible way to wake up #earthquake (http://bit.ly/bvkdCO)
- Holy crap. This is the big one! giant earthquake! (http://bit.ly/cuULLq)
- Jesus christ that was scary! Power out everywhere. 4:30 am here! Big earthquake! (http://bit.ly/aEtwO4)
- Damage, boundary fence down http://yfrog.com/mwsavkj. (http://bit.ly/aERIvO)
- My god that was a big earthquake!!! #CHCHQuake (http://bit.ly/c79Bk7)
- Fish have made a bid for freedom, tank has a huge hole (http://bit.ly/cgt1Hl)
- @libbydallison @richzilla @alastairboyes I’m tweeting from the doorway (http://bit.ly/dzGMCB)
- lots of broken stuff at our place including my great grandmas vase #chchearthquake (http://bit.ly/dkQ1UA)
- Streetlights all out by our place. At home power ok #earthquake (http://bit.ly/9mvO0e)
- @Stockhausens scary stuff! Ok though (http://bit.ly/cnOw3s)
- Um, like was there an earthquake or something? ? @RosieNZ is having massive aftershocks quivering in her doggy boots (http://bit.ly/aVBhA8)
- My TV fell over. Unimpressed. (http://bit.ly/aDiaDO)
- RT @BreakingNews 7.4 prelimary magnitude earthquake strikes New Zealand 4 miles from Christchurch – USGS http://bit.ly/cipHXC (http://bit.ly/aaICHo)
- And the one day I don’t charge my phone we lose all power. Fuck you Murphy and your laws! #earthquake (http://bit.ly/cTYp4u)
- My living area/kitchen smells like a mixture of peaches, pickles, some sort of vinegar type substance. #earthquake (http://bit.ly/d7H5H2)
- Bet people are wishing they had thought about how to “get thru”. I am. We don’t even have batteries! #earthquake (http://bit.ly/cISpTa)
- just got power back in Riccarton/Ilam #nzeq (http://bit.ly/aoH1ge)
- @MsPraxis – all ok, no damage to the house apart from some hairline cracks in ceiling. bit of breakage, nothing major. shocks still coming (http://bit.ly/bf7oG0)
- had to go find the old fixed line phone to save the cell (http://bit.ly/cpg84W)
- Jesus. Huge earthquake (http://bit.ly/b1q6oY)
- RT @kalena: New Zealand Christchurch hit by a Magnitude 7.4 earthquake: http://wp.me/pSkHj-cO. (http://bit.ly/cker9z)
- Surreal day after the earthquake. My poor town is a bit battered and bruised. So glad no fatalities. A miracle really. (http://bit.ly/bIIU39)
- Earthquake – long and rolling…. (http://bit.ly/dv3TPl)
- @scottjpalmer @nztechtweet @PolarBearFarm @rachel_a crazy long here in Waipara…. (http://bit.ly/aLsZji)
- @ZoliErdos not sure – lasted a good minute though. power out down the road in the city (http://bit.ly/b7IC4R)
- Christchurch it’s still rock and roll! Make sure your family is ok #quake (http://bit.ly/d7ChN7)
- Repertory theatre bricks all over kilmore street #eqnz (http://bit.ly/ce107c)
- Garage is a mess. Oh no not the bike #eqnz http://yfrog.com/nav2xoj (http://bit.ly/dqlO4y)
- Survived #earthquake. Everyone all right? (http://is.gd/eXbRS)
- Oh, and just like that were back to making blasé tweets. (http://is.gd/eXbRR)
- Sweet Cthulhu, not the bagels. http://yfrog.com/6bjbqoj (http://is.gd/eXbRQ)
- Massive earthquake. Powers out. Apparetly it’s the west coast. Everyone ok? (http://bit.ly/9ABC5l)
- Hope everyone is ok. (http://bit.ly/9jaamQ)
- Who in chch has power and where are you if you do (http://bit.ly/aWCav6)
- Holy cow what a way to wake up! (http://ht.ly/2Anvp)
- Only just got Internet back up pantry a mess, lots on the ground centered right under us basically fuck (http://ht.ly/2AnvJ)
- Another after shock (http://ht.ly/2AnvS)
- 7.4 earthquake. I’ve never run so fast to get Luka up (http://bit.ly/9Nqs7U)
- Power still out. Aftershakes still rattling us. Anyone need help? (http://bit.ly/cdeGIS)
- With the power out I can’t open the garage to go anywhere I Might stay at home and stab any looters (http://bit.ly/bJH8OB)
- That was the most massive earthquake! (http://bit.ly/btKl9D)
- Another aftershock. Half the china cabinet gone #earthquake (http://bit.ly/aLixQg)
- RT @ShakingEarth New Zealand Christchurch hit by a Magnitude 7.4 earthquake: http://wp.me/pSkHj-cO (http://bit.ly/bJ1rQh)
- OMG. Strong earthquake in Christchurch! Power is out! Can still feel aftershocks. Scary! Stay safe everyone!
- @WendyDavie it sure is! Never experienced anything as massive as this #Christchurch #earthquake!
- @TimothyNewman massive quake ever! Still having aftershocks! Bloody scary! Your family with you now? Power is out! Ack! (http://twitter.com/mrsgooding/status/22904101844)
- OMG. Shit’nnn (http://twitter.com/kiwichrish/status/22902721476)
- Aftershock. Rolling sensation…. (http://twitter.com/kiwichrish/status/22903645979)
- Ok… Lots broken, power out, ups’s beeping. Welcome to nz (http://twitter.com/kiwichrish/status/22903555865)
- wow… I think that was the biggest earthquake I’ve ever felt. Where was the epicentre? (http://twitter.com/NatashaUtting/status/22903547063)
- aftershocks! No power here and wireless down. Tweeting from phone. Shit that was bad in a lockwood! (http://twitter.com/NatashaUtting/status/22903691623)
- @Motmunter is there actually damage to your house? You got power over there? (http://twitter.com/NatashaUtting/status/22903830515)
- Major tremor sth island NZ. Chch (http://twitter.com/matt_dempsey/status/22902506494)
- Aftershock (http://twitter.com/matt_dempsey/status/22903637332)
- Still aftershocks after 1hr. Chch quake (http://twitter.com/matt_dempsey/status/22906299983)
- Where the fuck did that come from? Are you all alive? Everything on the floor. Cracks in the wall… (http://twitter.com/Motmunter/status/22903193027)
- Surprised we have power and twitter (http://twitter.com/Motmunter/status/22903508490)
- best quake ever. Ever. There goes Another big aftershock. Everyone freaked out. don’t like the structural damage to house @kittenypentland (http://twitter.com/Motmunter/status/22903690532)
- @rachel_a Thanks, girl! You ok after this morning’s adventures? (http://bit.ly/b6kFLq)
- Power back on now. Holy moley, that was scary (http://bit.ly/bWFghd)
- @rachel_a Dang, I should go to Fava! Good idea! We’ve got power back now, had been cooking up a storm in our campervan (http://bit.ly/csQL5q)
More will be added as they come in.
What were your first 3 tweets after the quake? If you want to contribute, please @reply me links to them at @kalena with #firstthreetweets as your hashtag or simply add links to them in the comments below.