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California earthquake LIVE tweeting!

Today I had a meeting with my Public Safety Canada client (Emergency Preparedness Branch) , whom I’m currently training on social media engagement. We’re in the midst of finalizing a social media strategy and choosing specific online tactics that will help Canadians (or rather, a specific target audience of Canadians) be more informed of how to properly prepare for an emergency (i.e how to put together or buy an emergency kit).

One social media channel we discussed as a best-practice example was the ever-popular Twitter. The shear amount of real-time conversations happening on this channel during disasters or conflicts is absolutely incredible. What’s more, all of these conversations can be filtered to your heart’s content using Twitter Advanced Search. You can search by location, by km radius, by language, by tone, you name it…

Roughly 20 minutes ago, I happened to be checking my Twitter contact updates and noticed someone “tweet” about a quake in California. This caught my attention and so I refreshed my list and a few more people started “re-tweeting” the same thing. When C.C. Chapman (a fellow social media guru who is usually well ahead of the news) tweeted about the quake a few seconds later, that triggered me to check Twitter Search for the term “earthquake“. Low and behold, the results started pouring in. Within seconds there were an additional 30, 90, 150, 570, 1669 live tweets (and still counting) about people in various Southern California cities experiencing the 4.5 magnitude quake.

California Earthquake

Have a look yourself and try tracking the conversation back to the original “tweet”. Note that this link will cease to be relevant contextually to this blog post within a few days. Eventually, simply searching for the term “earthquake” will be too generic. In which case you will have to go to Twitter Advanced Search and specify today’s date (January 8th, 2009) in your search criteria for “earthquake”.

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