Getting your news from social media

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - During the earthquake, can you guess what the most thorough news source was for information on what locations were hit and the damages?  If you guessed social networking, you guessed correctly.

The earthquake caused 5,500 Tweets per second.  According to Twitter's statistics, that is more tweets per second then Osama Bin Laden's death and on par with the Japanese disasters.

WBTV's Cyber Expert, Theresa Payton, explains the good side of social media during a crisis.

The good side of social media strikes again!

  1. Cell phone networks jammed!  Many people got a rapid busy signal or message that cell networks were down.  However, most people could get through to their loved ones via texting, Twitter and Facebook.
  2. Damages:  Photos posted online showed falling debris and damages which are helpful to those who have to assess the safety features of buildings, roads and bridges
  3. Location:  On Foursquare, more than 14,000 users checked into "Earthquakepocalypse".  You might chuckle but it might be a useful way for researchers and seismologists to determine who felt the quake.
  4. Reporting Your Experience:  If you felt the earthquake, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) wants to hear from you and asks that you visit their website to assist them with their data collection effort.

Safety concerns:

  1. During an earthquake, your first concern should be for your safety.
  2. Seek shelter in the safest and lowest point possible.
  3. Once you are secured, let your loved ones know where you are.  If phone lines do not work, consider using social media or texting to reach them.
  4. Develop a call tree and social media plan, in advance of a crisis, to insure your family knows how to reach you.
  5. Once you are safe and loved ones know where you are – feel free to use social media to broadcast and check for information.


There are helpful tips on what to do during an earthquake at FEMA's website at:

To report what you experienced during the earthquake, go to the United States Geological Survey site at:

Mashable posted statistics regarding social media posts and the earthquake at:

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