Social media implications of today's East Coast earthquake

I'm a long-time Californian, so I don't get too excited about earthquakes. Usually by the time I figure out that it's not a big truck driving down the street, it's over. Hurricanes and tornadoes are another thing entirely and scare me to death, so it's really just what you get used to, isn't it?

I heard from a colleague on IM a minute or so after she felt it in Raleigh, NC, and I immediately flipped over to Facebook, and watched the comments pour in. A college friend who's now a news anchor for CBS Radio in New York City had it immediately. So did the Washington Post. And I watched East Coast colleagues and friends reporting in on it. And just this morning my manager, living in Manhattan, said that she'd never felt an earthquake before, and is laughing about being careful what you wish for. I also heard from a friend who's a recent California transplant to Raleigh who was amused and amazed by the reactions, as blase as I am about the earth moving in small quake. (With that said, I guarantee you I won't be blase about a big one. They really are no laughing matter.)

I heard Twitter was down for a little bit, once again easily overwhelmed by traffic, but just take a look at all the posts hashtagged with earthquake. It's pretty amazing.  One of my favorites: REPUTABLE NEWS SOURCES ARE REPORTING: That during the office productivity dropped 100%.
I'm sure that's very true.

And Seth Godin quickly penned a few thoughts about it on his blog,Two earthquake-related thoughts about human nature, that I thought were pretty spot on in the bigger picture.

But really my point is, social media made this human connection possible and easy. Communicating with friends and family in a broadcast manner just happened, almost naturally. So if you're one of those doubting Thomases who thinks social media is just a fad, here's another nail in that particular coffin.
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Two Three new updates I just can't resist sharing. There's a new Facebook page,  I felt the East Coast Earthquake on 8/23/11 with over 10,000 members already. And Time magazine has already collected what they feel are the best earthquake tweets in 'Laughter Shocks': 13 Best Tweets About the East Coast Earthquake.

And the best so far, NPR reports that Feds Launch App Contest For Facebook 'Lifelines' In Health Emergencies, just yesterday as a matter of fact, since we're coming into hurricane season.
"The idea is to make it easy for Facebook users to beef up their own preparedness and strengthen their social connections in case something goes really wrong, such as a pandemic or earthquake.
The competition will run till the end of hurricane season on Nov. 4."