Have You Seen These

Christchurch – Icon Lost, Along With Their Sense of Security

A quick post on the rapidly evolving earthquake situation in the area around Christchurch, NZ. I’m going to use bullet point format, as this appears to be the format being used by many of the Civil Defense agencies in the area. Highly effective in communicating succinct information during crisis.

  • I noted some of the initial tweets from web based news sources.  Within minutes, I was able to connect with live streaming video from an Australian news channel, clearly showing devastating building collapses, injured people and reports of hundreds trapped.
  • While the damage was significant, it was clear we were only getting a myopic glimpse of what must be a huge regional disaster.  Communities closer to the epicenter likely suffered equal or worse damage.  This will likely end up being much worse than being reported right now.
  • More than one reporter commented on the reliance of social media – especially Twitter.  They were reading tweets on the air to describe the disaster’s impact.
  • Initially, it appeared two main hashtags were in play; #christchurchearthquake and #eqnz.  Within seconds I noted that #eqnz was winning out.  No doubt because it was shorter.
  • In a very short time, Google had a people finder page up and running.  Folks flocked to it.
  • Tweets coming from those affected included: reporting their status to loved ones, instructing people to stay off their phones, reporting damage observations, and use text messaging instead of voice.
  • Interesting enough, some people are passing along tweets to tell folks to conserve bandwidth by NOT using their cell phones to post Twitpics of the damage.
  • The loss of the cathedral will end up being the symbol of the disaster.  Community icons lost in disaster are often used to illustrate the impact, and reverberate for decades.

It is crystal clear that right now  SM tools are playing a key role in providing concise and real time information in a major crisis.   What have you been observing?

About chiefb2

Retired fire chief,Type 3 AHIMT IC, PIO. Current industrial services safety professional, social media emergency management disciple (no, I'm not a "guru"). Crisis communications consultant. Dad with an open wallet.