Twitter me this

By Bryan • blog, china, nanjing, personal • 13 May 2008

This post most likely provides ample evidence that I was not swallowed by the earth or buried in rubble. Unfortunately, many other people have.

Tens of thousands of people across southwest China remained buried beneath rubble on Tuesday as rescue workers struggled to reach areas cut off by a powerful earthquake that has left thousands dead and hundreds of thousands of others injured or homeless.

By late evening Tuesday, the official death toll had exceeded 12,000, according to state media, quoting provincial officials, making it China’s deadliest natural disaster in three decades. Officials said they thought the death toll could still climb dramatically higher.

Another tragedy to add to an already troubled year.

Nanjing did receive some waves…some of which were noticed by those residing/working in taller structures. I continued my day, completely ignorant…just like all of the earthquakes I have apparently experienced. Being the vibration-impaired person that I am I was therefore was unable to quickly produce my blackberry/PDA/phone or current mobile device of choice and send a tweet, or possibly retweet someone else proclaiming/reconfirming to the world that “YES, I FELT IT!”. But I sure feel like I’m the only person in China who didn’t.

I wouldn’t come close to calling myself tech-savy or much of a tech hipster, but I do feel that I am tech-aware. I own several mobile devices, run this web 2.0 capable blog, utilize RSS feeds and have been know to lurk around Facebook from time to time. If I had co-workers, I would probably find an excuse to own a Treo. I had even heard of Twitter back when it was still a geek thing – but I fell asleep at the wheel on this one, big time…probably somewhere in between the moment I initially read about Twitter and the Burma cyclone and the recent Sichuan earthquake. Some time during that period Twitter completed an insurrection within the web 2.0 community, took on the mainstream media, chewed on Facebook, inflated web self-narcissism to unseen levels and earned its very own verb.

People are calling it the micro-blog…or even going as far as calling it the new blog. Journalism on the run from any mobile platform. Apparently Twitter and its equivalents are responsible for considerable amounts of information flow in, around and out of areas affected by the earthquake as well as the cyclone. Another layer of democratic and freedom-of-information has just been slapped on the internet cake and I feel like I’m missing out.

So the question is…do I sign up? Drink the “Twitter Kool-Aid” as I’ve read it being referred to as? Do I even have enough hip colleagues and friends who use this service to make it worthwhile? Is it really that good? I’m I a dork? Mmmmm…Kool-Aid…..

I’m slightly skeptical regarding micro-posts as I never bought into the Facebook status feed – I played with it a little, throwing the odd update here and there and lurked around, but the novelty wore thin quickly and I am generally unimpressed by single sentence status updates. I’m truly sorry and with all respect, but the fact that you are ‘feeling groovy’ is essentially meaningless to me…I need more…blogs are good…more blogs and less micro-management! While a Facebook profile has become somewhat of a necessity these days (one was set up for my Grad program as an orientation platform) and it was (admittedly) a guilty-pleasure adding lost acquaintances, I’ve relegated Facebook to a secondary role as a blogpost advertisement vehicle for this website (via Wordbook) and as a contact form.

…sort of a moot discussion…while writing this post I created a new account at Twitter. I am presently following…a total of zero people…and currently have…zero people following me.

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2 Responses

  1. Sue Crosby

    We knew you’d be okay where you were though we had some inquiries as to your well being from others. The damage is horrific…..so hard to imagine the magnitude of its scope. It is heartening to hear via the media that China is welcoming help. Quite different from the reports from Burma. It is an inate human desire to reach out and help others in such situations and it seems so wrong when it is not accepted when it is so obviously needed. Keep up the posts. Glad that your website is up and running……. your pictures are wonderful!

  2. There was a slight buzz prior to the Sichuan EQ regarding the possibility of China ‘twisting’ Burma’s arm into allowing international aid, or that China’s more intimate relationship with the Junta would open the possibility of China taking a larger role in the relief effort, say over, western and/or other aid.

    This, of course, will probably not happen now given the magnitute of the situation in Sichuan which has mobilized the entire disaster relief network here.

    I don’t ever recall two massive disasters occuring so close to one another (temporally, as well as spatially). It is possible that multiple n. diasters could become a more common phenomenon (although increase in EQ frequencies cannot be attributed to changing climates). It could be argued that the Burmese relief effort is hampered by the EQ effort (I don’t want to sound like I want relief teams to leave China and go to Burma…of course not! Everything avaliable should be sent to Sichuan) but just to highlight how quickly response efforts can become overwelmed in the event of muliple disasters.

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