Twitter, Facebook light up after East Coast quake

People turn to social networks as earthquake jolts D.C area, New York, New England

Just moments after a 5.9 magnitude earthquake hit the East Coast on Tuesday afternoon, Twitter and Facebook lit up with the news.

The quake struck central Virginia at 1:53 p.m. EDT today and rocked the Washington area, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The quake was felt as far away as New Jersey, New York and New England. It also disrupted cell phone service and closed two nuclear reactors, and many bridges and tunnels in East Coast cities

Various news services reported that parts of the Pentagon, the White House and the U.S. Capitol were evacuated as a precaution. The federal building in Newark, N.J., was also evacuated.

But before news could be reported on television or even on online news sites, the reports were lighting up social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook.

People were quick to turn to their favorite social networking sites to report the quake, with many tweeting or posting while the shaking was still going on.

A reporter in Maine read about the quake on Twitter before actually feeling the shock waves reach that far north.

"When I felt the house shake I ran outside to yell at whoever was tramping across my roof. Typical Brooklyn reaction. #earthquake," tweeted Computerworld feature editor BarbaraKrasnoff.

And zephoria also tweeted, "Gotta love Twitter. The building shakes. Everyone immediately gets on Twitter to confirm that they're not hallucinating." While brianstelter, wrote, "Quake was so strong at my family home, 40 min north of D.C., that my mom rushed outside, thinking something had hit the house."

And CBS News reporter Norah O'Donnell tweeted, "#SecretService rushing people out of WH and into Lafayette Square. Most people calm. bit.ly/q8PdlX #quake"

People have been quick to take to social networking sites after other earthquakes, the tsunami in Japan and even government uprisings.

However, today's flash tweeting and Facebook postings are a reminder of how intrinsically entwined the sites have become in our lives, noted Zeus Kerravala, an analyst with Yankee Group.

"It again supports the theory that social networks are the fastest way to distribute information. They have become the "send to" of life," said Kerravala. "It's become the de facto communication tool for anyone looking to reach all of their contacts because it's simple, fast and now ubiquitous. I don't need to put in an address in a "to" field. I just type it and hit enter."

Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed. Her e-mail address is sgaudin@computerworld.com.

Read more about web 2.0 and web apps in Computerworld's Web 2.0 and Web Apps Topic Center.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags internetFacebookdisaster recoverytwittercollaborationsoftwareapplicationsBusiness ContinuityMobile and WirelessWeb 2.0 and Web AppsEnterprise Web 2.0/Collaboration

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Sharon Gaudin

Computerworld (US)
Show Comments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?