I find it interesting that in the minutes following the earthquake, even before the tsunami had made much progress on its journey, the news of the devastation in Japan was all over the social network. In fact one almost could not follow Twitter if the search term Japan were included. Now, just a couple of weeks later, a devastating 6.8 magnitude earthquake has rocked Myanmar and the tweets can be counted by just watching them refresh.
There are 127,000,000 people (approximately) in Japan. In Myanmar there are roughly 52,000 – less than half. The number of US citizens in Japan compared to the number in Myanmar (the State Department still refers to it as “Burma”) is very lopsided. One, without too much research, can only imagine that is mirrored with other countries. Still, you would think at least a few thousand tweets would have been sent.
Then again, the story can end here with this quote from the US State Department website, “The military regime carefully controls and monitors all Internet use in Burma (Myanmar) and restricts Internet access through software-based censorship that limits the materials individuals can access online.”
Still, the rest of the world will come to their aid, their rescue, and I would not have that any other way. Meanwhile back to Whoopi Goldberg and Donald Trump … what a world we live in.
People looking for information about the Japan reactor story, just as anyone looking for breaking information on events, have taken to the internet. Something our parents and grandparents did not have in their arsenal of media research is now a center point of everyday life in virtually every nation.
With the ever growing, even called encroachment, of social media and citizen journalism major catastrophes and events of global significance very quickly dominate searches at the giants like Google. In fact for most of the day today the search terms “japan reactor” have been at the top of the Google search list.
In the highly unlikely case you are unfamiliar with the story of the nuclear reactor in Japan damaged in the earlier earthquake you may join the search fray as well. Using the search monster Google and searching for the terms Japan reactor will lead you to millions of resources including Twitter and other burgeoning social media outlets.
The question, and indeed concern, is “how is this prevalence of self-search for breaking news diluted or otherwise negatively impacted by citizen journalism?” The argument is made, and well, there is no restrictive or governing authority on what is published in the WebSphere. Even within the normally liberal leaning media there are checks and balances in the event someone publishes information that is erroneous or intentionally misleading. One need only cite the recent reports of the deaths of Adam Sandler and other celebrities who are not, quiet thankfully, dead.
What are your thoughts? Does social media help get the information out or does it muddy the waters and even cause confusion and possibly anguish?