The Christchurch earthquake – and the tragedy unfolding in its wake – has stunned us all. But, in between the stories of bravery, local heroism and national response, there have been occasional moments where something has caught my attention because it is odd or unusual.
For me, it was the moment in Parliament on Tuesday 22 February, when Bill English asked people to stay off the phone lines and use texting instead. And it was the moment when a bizarre email from a friend made me think something had happened – and Twitter was my first source for immediate news. Both were, even at the time, in the midst of the devastating news, an odd reminder of the way technology is part of how we communicate.
This infographic from Mashable highlights the way online networks are now firmly centre stage during times when news is breaking; when the person in the street is at the heart of the story; when good, and bad, news travels faster than ever before.
If anyone still doubts the power of an online community, a social network or 140 character messages to have real impact on people’s lives, they have only to look at the messages coming through on the day of the earthquake, and still streaming through in the days afterwards, to be persuaded otherwise.