Twitter has always been a mystery to me. Is it a Facebook for people without computers? A mass text messaging service?
Someone recently explained that it was sort of a combination of both, and that it’s an easy way to broadcast information about yourself – like what you’re doing at any particular moment, where you’re shopping and if there’s a great sale, or your thoughts on the Lady Gaga concert – all with a few keystrokes on your Blackberry, iPhone or whatever it is you use.
Then the earthquake in Japan happened: A horrible tragedy affecting millions of lives across several continents, but with the worst impact on Japanese coastal residents. I put on the news and heard a report about the immediate reaction on Twitter. Within hours of the earthquake, the number of tweets generated from residents in Tokyo were in the thousands per minute, as Japan’s phone systems were down.
People were communicating via Twitter to get emergency medical help, find loved ones and send information to those needing food and water all over the country. One man used Twitter to communicate that he and many others were stuck in Tokyo Disneyland. Just this morning, I read that Twitter was the first source of information for U.S. residents to know the estimated time of impact of the tsunami on U.S. shores.
It took a tragedy for me to realize the true value of Twitter. Before the Japanese earthquake, Twitter was like a virtual Goodyear blimp displaying Charlie Sheen’s meltdown, but now I realize it’s something much bigger that has profound potential and value. In a world in which families can be separated by thousands of miles of land and ocean, technology has bridged the gap once again.
In today’s fast-paced digital media environment, it can a full-time job just keeping up with social network updates. It truly boggles my mind to think about what might be next.
Category: Take It or Leave It
About the Author (Author Profile)
Lori Kommor, Columnist/Event Chair
Lori wears many hats: writing two weekly columns, chairing The
Voice-Tribune’s events and keeping the staff fed with a stash of snacks
Willy Wonka would envy. She’s a fervent high school soccer fan (go
Collegiate!) and has the raspy voice to prove it after game days.