Sitting on the couch earlier this evening, I felt a strange sensation of moving with the couch, as the bookshelf behind me creaked. Melbourne had experienced a light earthquake. Did it happen or did I imagine it? After a while I tweeted it in the form of a question, hoping to ascertain whether it really happened or not. Sure enough, Twitter exploded with tweets registering similar experiences.
Meanwhile, the TV was on, but no news about an earthquake. Look at ABC news online – nothing. Channel 7 Breaking News remained unbroken – just a repeat of the stories that had been broadcast several times already this evening.
Gradually, traditional news providers came on board. Channel 7 finally acknowledged the quake at 10.27 pm. Very slow, considering John Connell had already completed a post about the Melbourne quake from Scotland.
Here it is, and he has an image of the first 18 twitterers – I’m there on the right. I would have been quicker but my laptop was doing its usual slow-loading.
As Craig has pointed out in a comment below, Breaking Tweets (World News Twitter style) reported 800 tweets before media jumped in.
2 thoughts on “Earthquake in Melbourne: Twitter beats breaking news”
Yep! Twitter did it again. Breaking Tweets has a nice roundup of the first tweets from this event: http://www.breakingtweets.com/2009/03/earthquake-rattles-melbourne.html.
In the 15 minutes before mainstream media finally latched on to the story, there had been more than 800 tweets! Remarkable.