CNN Wants YOU!

A 4.0 earthquake rattled the San Francisco area last night. I was up late, hanging out on Twitter when it happened. I follow many people on Twitter from the San Fran area, so the sudden influx of earthquake-related tweets was at once fascinating and a bit disconcerting.

Fortunately, it was a minor quake and there doesn’t appear to be any reports of injuries or damage. Having lived through many a quake myself (I lived on the Queen Charlotte Islands, where a fault very similar to California’s San Andreas Fault exists), I can definitely relate to the jolt that even a minor quake like this sends through you.

At the time of the quake, I jokingly tweeted “San Fran earthquake on Twitter. You heard it here first, folks! Where is CNN?” Much to my surprise, I received this response from @flourish:

@flourish is Trish Higgins, and she’s a Producer at CNN. It’s the first time I’ve ever asked “Where’s CNN?” and CNN actually answered me!

This past weekend, sitting in a hotel in Indianapolis, I was watching with great interest the coverage of Hurricane Gustav on CNN. Frequently, they would throw to a reporter, sitting at a desk, reading through piles of..you guessed it…Twitter posts, from people in the hurricane zone.

This is it, people. It doesn’t get any more live and on location than those people who are living it at that second. CNN knows this, and is seizing the opportunity in a big way. The immediacy of micro-blogging has great power. You can dispatch all the camera crews in the world, but none of them are going to be able to get the reaction of someone sitting in their chair AS an earthquake happens. Twitter, on the other hand, has the power to do this.

This is the new news gathering. The world is changing before our eyes, in 140 characters or less.

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3 Responses

  1. The instantaneous gratification of Twitter is what attracted me to it as a replacement for Facebook.

    Let’s face it, the best part of FB is the update feed. I loved all the quirky updates, Jack Handy thoughts and nutty jokes my contacts used to type in at any given point in the day. That’s why I was hooked on FB for over a year.

    And then I grew tired of the stupid bs that some lazy contacts would substitute for conversation and insight into their daily lives like requests for zombies or Texas hold ’em games. For that I could go back to ignoring them for decades on end like before I discovered FB. Hee.

    At least on Twitter we have half a chance of having some great cross conversations on various topics that you will be required to use your brain to follow. That appeals to me. During the day I like to tune out boring customers with some lively and interesting topics and links I can use to chew up the long hours till I get to go home. I have managed to find a few people to follow on a lot of the various things in my life I’m most interested in discussing or learning about. I found some groups on FB, but they were all filled with immature students who spoiled the experiences for me, or they were abandoned by adults because there wasn’t enough people interested to post on a regular basis.

    I’m not that much of a joiner anyway, so mini conversations here and there, sprinkled all over my day makes me very happy. I have a lot of friends offline and they are from a wide cross section personality and background wise. I feel like Twitter offers me the same online with others I have never met but would love to talk to if we were to meet in person.

  2. The only drawback to Twitter I can see is that the mini conversations are so mini, I will end up addicted to mini conversations and my short attention span will grow even shorter. I don’t want that to bleed over to my offline daily life. I have to remain very conscious of that. I can see it happening very easily, without my realising it when it happens.

  3. Hi Sue,
    I had one of those “Twitter-gone-mainstream” moments this week when I tuned into the CBC election coverage to see that they have a reporter devoted to gathering user-generated content from Canadians via a number of social media channels – including the Tweetosphere.

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