Social Media and Tsunami News

NOAA Tsunami Wave Height GraphicAfter a magnitude 9.0 earthquake struck off Japan, triggering a massive tsunami that devastated the country, communities around the Pacific braced themselves for impact. People in Hawaii were ready.

Indeed, from government officials to emergency planners to everyday citizens, the tsunami warning was a repeat of events last February, when another tsunami warning kicked off a torrent of reports and comments across Twitter and social media platforms.

This time, social media tsunami coverage was even more robust, drawing participation from across the state, across the country, and even internationally. Users of Twitter and Facebook regularly posted updates derived from live television news and radio coverage, while at the same time, mainstream media regularly cited and reached out to Twitter and Facebook users for on-the-spot reports and interviews.

On Twitter, the “#hitsunami” hashtag aggregated thousands of reports and comments specific to Hawaii. Once again, local digital designer John Garcia fired up the information portal, which was constantly updated with the latest information… much of it derived from Twitter.

Tonight, the Hawaii chapter of the Social Media Club will focus on Social Media, Tsunamis, and Crisis Management, featuring Brian Shiro, a geophysicist at the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center and an advocate of social media’s role in emergency management.

He wrote up his experiences during last year’s tsunami scare, saying, “I really enjoyed joining the collective conversation about the tsunami and contributing information from my perspective as a tsunami warning scientist.”

Tonight, he’ll discuss how that conversation has evolved and grown. And the Social Media Club plans to “create a white paper out of this meeting to share with the Hawaii business and nonprofit community.”

The event takes place from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at Amuse Wine Bar on Kapiolani Boulevard. To RSVP, click here.

Ryan Ozawa

Ryan Kawailani Ozawa has immersed himself in new technologies and online communities since the days before the web. From running a dial-up BBS in the early '90s to exploring today’s dynamic world of "Web 2.0" and social media, he has long embraced and evangelized the ways in which technology can bring people together.