Tsunami=fail, social media=win!

Ok, so I woke up this morning expecting it to be a normal day, but once I had had my breakfast and remembered who and where I was I did what I always do third thing in the morning, I checked facebook.

Upon checking facebook I was immediately bombarded by warnings that a 1 metre high tidal wave, started by an earthquake in Samoa was making it’s way to Dunedin and would hit at midday. I did some more digging on Twitter and google (I would have looked up the NZ herald if the stupid twats hadn’t made totali remove it from the app store! ) and found several people in my social circle keeping a wether (ha) eye on the online newsmedia, and some who had been evacuated from their houses (who, by the way were doing a much better job than the TV news)

http://twitter.com/#search?q=nztsunami

By about 10:30 I decided to go grab myself a vantage point because hey, if there was a tidal wave that had even the slightest possibility of breaching the seawall I wanted to be there when it happened! Owing to my giving up on the concept of radio back in 2004 I do not have a connected antenna in my car, so I was just relying on the phone for information. I staked out an empty space on Cliffs Rd, waiting for the world to end and checking my phone every half hour in between playing solitaire. On the third time I checked, I found out the inevitible, that Civil Defence had picked up the wave of the New Zealand coast…and it was a whopping 40cm high, and consequently the warning/alert had been cancelled.

So the tsunami of my dreams (and one of my friends dreams also, apparently) was a massive letdown, but it offered me a microcosm of how social media can be used to a) inform people about what’s going on through the combined efforts of the crowd and b) generate a load of hype, making a tsunami out of a spring tide, as it were. I really like the idea of everyone being involved in informing the world in some way, and at the same time I think it’s paramount to exercise discernment in what you read/see/hear, and not just take everythign at face value, but in this case the whole exercise was really quite fun. Now to sit back and wait until the real one comes…

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