Breaking News At Facebook Speed

April 18, 2008

When I got onto my computer, I opened Facebook — and saw a friend’s status message that said:

woke up at 5:35 am… thanks to earthquake, that shake in Indiana

Earthquake status message on facebook

Whoa, an earthquake? In Indiana?! I sent that friend a wall-to-wall message asking if it was a meteorite strike rather than an earthquake, like what happened in another part of the USA the day before. No, it was indeed an earthquake, she said, and a 5.4 magnitude earthquake at that.

CNN soon confirmed it. A 5.4 magnitude earthquake took place in Illinois, and was felt as far away as where my friend is in Indiana. There are photos of damage. CNN has (at this moment) even stripped its home page to the bare basics to make it load quicker because so many people have been “hitting” CNN’s home page for news.

CNN earthquake article screenshot

I’ve heard of people using the social features of the Internet to share news.  This is similar to when people use Twitter to get out of jail in Egypt.  But this is my first time I’ve heard of a major news story from a friend via Facebook before I heard of it elsewhere on the news.

Getting word out about something newsworthy on a national scope, and having friends hear about it first before the news even report it? That’s something new, and that’s certainly something powerful.

Folks who are in the earthquake zone, keep us updated via your Facebook status messages, willya? And hope all is well at your homes and elsewhere.

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3 Responses to “Breaking News At Facebook Speed”

  1. SazzyBamm Says:

    I keep telling people not only California is prone to earthquakes in America! Crazy, huh? Glad no one was hurt.

  2. Bill Says:

    You won’t see my status, ’cause I don’t know your real name, but mine is updated.

    Apparently, people here in West MI felt it too. I slept through it, like I did all of the ones that occurred while I was in CA. I miss all the fun. I’ll have to go stand next to a train track and pretend.

  3. Bill Says:

    Our local story, by xml feed early, before I got up (I was up at 4:40, but cancelled my exercise plans and went back to bed).


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