Japan, the Earthquake and Tsunami : The Power Of Social Media

On Friday, I jumped into my car to drive into work as normal.  I turned the radio on and tuned into the 8am news.  The headlining story was the shocking news about the earthquake and tsunami in Japan.  My first thought turned to Carole and her family.  I only know Carole through a variety of internet connections but I consider her a friend.  She lives in Japan (has done for a few years now) but is ready to move back to Europe quite soon.  The news reports were spewing out too much information to take in but as soon as I got into work I tweeted:

Rather shockingly, she tweeted back almost immediately that she was OK, not near the epicentre and directed me towards some pictures that she had taken of the damage in her own house.  She has since written a blog post about her experience of this earthquake and I urge you to read it.

As the day progressed I was able to access more information about this natural disaster, pictures that had been taken only a few moments ago were displayed on Twitter and Facebook, live videos were streaming from news channels or being uploaded within minutes to You Tube.  I was in a position to experience the horror second hand, nearly as it was happening, if not physically, emotionally.

As I write this, reports are coming in stating that tens of thousands of people are missing, the aftershocks (the size of actual earthquakes) are still happening, one of the nuclear power stations has experienced an explosion and news teams are streaming pictures of devastation and panic.  The news is getting out across the world all through the many channels of social media; television, Twitter, Facebook, and it makes it so much more real, somehow.  I have no comprehension of how I would cope with this type of emergency. Carole sometimes appears very blasé about the many earthquakes that hit Japan - she often tweets about minor tremors happening there and then - but this one has affected people in ways that are unimaginable unless you are living the experience.  Something we wouldn't wish on anyone. 

My own minor grievances for this week pale in to insignificance.