The Earth Moves & The Power of Social Networking

The Earth Moves

As many of you will now know there was a bit of a quake in Christchurch yesterday. (Non-kiwis need to understand that we understate things a lot – it was a 7.1 quake.)

While I actually felt the quake, the epicenter was quite some distance from home.

Screen shot 2010-09-05 at 11.00.08 AM

I felt it as a long smooth roll – something similar to what I’d feel if the cat jumped up on my bed in the middle of the night – except it kept on going which was what alerted my sleepy brain to an earthquake. However, it wasn’t enough for me to do anything more than turn over and go back to sleep. An hour later (5:30am) I was up taking my daughter to work and she mentioned the quake and damage but I still didn’t take in what she was talking about. It wasn’t till around 8:30am when I was woken again by several texts coming through on my phone. The first one was from Twitter – a DM from a friend in England asking if I was ok. My first thought was to wonder if it had been too long since I was on twitter and she was missing me. That thought vanished when I saw the second text – from my best friend in Montana – asking if me and the kids were ok. At this point I realised that there must have been some real damage happen with the earthquake and I turned the TV and computer on to check.

I lived in Christchurch for 13 years – all through my 20’s and early 30’s; both my kids were born there and I have very fond memories from that time. I’m also due to attend a conference there (as are many of my TwitterPLN) at the beginning of October. So I was glued to the pictures – there were places I knew well – destroyed some of them; others were fine – such random damage. I was also glued to twitter and facebook – there was so much information coming out via those two social media sites – I still haven’t heard from a couple of friends but everyone else posted via one of those two places that they were safe – shaken, stirred but safe.

And they’re still being shaken! Take a look at this screen grab of the McQueen’s Valley Quake Drum from this morning – it doesn’t have the big one on it but check out all the after shocks!

Screen shot 2010-09-05 at 9.18.32 AM

The Power of Social Networking

This earthquake and the response to it has been an amazing example of social networks in action. The first photos coming out were via twitter – in fact many of the photos shown via conventional media were from twitter. People were checking in via twitter and facebook – I guess check in once to FB means lots of people can be reassured in one go.

Hashtag power was at work too – want to check the latest – search using the #eqnz hashtag:

Google search
Twitter search

How about this screenshot of a headline for an online paper in Canada:

Screen shot 2010-09-05 at 11.27.25 AM

Check out also “The Twitter #eqnz Daily” with a mixture of links to videos, photos, blogs, twitter stream etc.


Sometimes Wikipedia gets slammed as being not accurate enough or not reliable because ordinary people can edit and change the pages. I disagree – I think it’s powerful because ordinary people can edit and change the pages. I doubt very much that a group of paid professionals could/would have produced this page, with this amount of information, this quickly: 2010 Canterbury Earthquake.

This is the power of social networking at it’s best (if ordinary people can have a hand in editing it’s part of social networking IMHO).

This is history being written as it happens – via Twitter/Facebook/Wikipedia/Youtube/Blogs!

8 thoughts on “The Earth Moves & The Power of Social Networking

  • September 8, 2010 at 5:07 am

    I am sorry to hear about the earthquake and that it was a place close to your heart. I enjoyed that you used this experience to explain the rise in technology. I’m also glad that you pointed out wikipedia. My teachers have always told me not to use wikipedia because ordinary people could edit it, but I love that you said you doubted paid professionals could have produced the page as quickly as the ordinary people did. With Facebook and Twitter being such big social networks, many people get information about things from them rather than the news. I really enjoyed this blog and that you could relate to it.
    Please feel free to check out my blogs at
    Thank you!

  • September 13, 2010 at 3:52 pm

    First of all I am so sorry to hear about the destructiveness that been caused by the earthquake. I am very glad to hear you and your family are all okay! I pray you hear from the ones soon that you haven’t heard from yet! I agree with what you said about the power of social networking. It’s crazy to think that you can comfort all of your friends with just a few quick key strokes! I also love what you said about wikipedia. Everyone warns of the “dangers” of it, but it can be useful. Like you said, paid professionals can’t get that info up as quickly as average people can. Overall, I enjoyed this post very much!

  • September 21, 2010 at 3:25 am

    I am so sorry to hear about the earthquake! It is such a blessing that you and your family are okay, though. That must be such a traumatic experience to have to go through. Social Networking plays such a huge role in getting news such as this out, and makes it easier to check on your loved ones. I just want you to know that I will be thinking and praying for you and your loved ones!
    my blog

  • September 27, 2010 at 3:20 pm

    Hey! I’m Regina from the University of South Alabama in Mobile. I am in the EDM 310 Microcomputing class there.
    I am very sorry to hear about the earthquake but happy to hear that you were able to connect to those close to you very quickly afterwards thanks to the technology of the growing world. It is amazing how fast news can travel through the internet, as you said in your post Facebook is an easy way to connect we hundreds of people close to you in one post.
    I am happy to see that I am not the only person who does turn to Wikipedia. While I know it is not always a site to be trusted, especially for research, Wikipedia does hold alot of valuable information. Everything in life should be “taken with a grain of salt”.
    If you would like to check out my class blog, please feel free to do so at
    Have a great day and I look forward to reading more of your posts!

  • September 27, 2010 at 4:13 pm

    Hello! I’m Caitlin Jaynes from Dr. Strange’s EDM310 class at the University of South Alabama. It’s unfortunate to hear that you had to endure an earthquake. Thankfully, it sounds like you’re alright, along with your friends and family. Your point about wikipedia makes me think. I never really thought about how credible posts from ordinary people could be. In the event of natural disasters, the people who lived through them are going to know what happened best. They will also be able to contribute information very quickly so that other people around the world can know what’s going on.

    You can read my thoughts on your blogpost at my blogspot: . Thank you!

  • November 5, 2010 at 10:04 am

    Hi, My name is Cassandra Steele. I commented on one of your other posts about two weeks ago. I am in Dr. Strange’s EDM310 class at the University of South Alabama. I’m sorry to hear about the earthquake, but it’s very fortunate you and your family are alright. I actually read a story from another blog not too long ago about the same earthquake. Social networking does play a big role in today’s society. Most people have a Facebook account or a Twitter account. This does make keeping in touch so much easier. You can also find out a lot of information from these sites whether it’s good or bad. People are always updating statuses and leaving tweets about the latest information.

    If you would like to take a look at my blog, this is the link to my class blog. I will be summarizing what you talked about in this post and what I responded. Thanks for sharing this post! It was very interesting to read.

  • January 10, 2011 at 10:54 pm

    This is great, thanks for posting. I read your blog all the time and find your site very educational and helpful. Keep them coming! 🙂

  • February 24, 2011 at 5:54 am

    Having just been browsing forinformative blog posts for the research project I’ve been working on when I happened to come across yours. Thanks for this useful material! — Sharice Wisnowski

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