In the mid-2008 media world, every network, blog, and news website wants to break the big impact story in times of developing news. For hours after a 5.3 magnitude earthquake centered near Chino Hills, ~30 miles from LA, rocked Southern California, all of the major networks and their websites continued carrying the news with a red BREAKING NEWS flag attached. But other than shaking up millions of people and scattering items off of shelves, there was no “news” to break (at least as of 4pm, more than 4 hours after the initial temblor).
Considering the small size and low resolution of the above photo, I won’t venture to investigate the possibility that it was digitally manipulated or whether it’s an honest to goodness eyewitness photo. But below, you’ll see a few surveillance camera or eyewitness camera viewpoint of what is clearly either real footage of the earthquake and it’s after affects, or simply fakes.
Twitter cofounder Biz Stone commented on the Twitterquake phenomenon this afternoon on the Twitter blog (see image below):
Whether it’s updates from best friends, internet pals, companies, brands, or breaking world events, the real-time aspect of sending and receiving Twitter updates continues to motivate our work.
Zoliblog comments on the meaning of Twitter breaking two recent California earthquakes as well as recent quakes in China and Japan:
People do take advantage of the relative naivete of social media and donâ€™t hesitate to post fake news to gain 5 minutes of fame. But that doesnâ€™t undermine the importance of speed, which in some cases can provide early alerts and potentially save lives. We need both.
I think the true power of tools like Twitter and social media sites like youtube andn even 12seconds is it’s ability to broadcast to your contacts/peers/circle without a net and without delay. You don’t have to gather or collect either yourself or relevant data like officials and news wires / outlets must. You only need to react, in 140 characters or less.
For more on fake photojournalists, check out this conversation last week on NPR’s Talk of the Nation.