Twitter Spreads Faster than Earthquake

Twitter produces thousands of tweets per second, but did you know that this real-time, social media platform can actually spread news faster than the speed of seismic waves?

That’s exactly what happened on Tuesday, August 23, 2011. Around 1:50pm, a 5.8 magnitude earthquake that originated in Mineral, VA shook the ground, causing glass to rattle, buildings to shake and people all along the East Coast to freak out. And what was the first thing people did during the 30-second rumbling? They tweeted. Posts of the earthquake that hit Richmond, as well as D.C., flooded Twitter, allowing people as far away at Atlanta and New York City to learn the news just seconds before the earthquake reached their area.

It’s interesting to see a glimpse into the future of our society and how we communicate. With social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare, users are communicating with each other as opposed to turning on CNN. It raises the question: will Twitter become the only form of news delivery in the future?

Interestingly enough, this Twitter/earthquake phenomenon was predicted by Randall Munro in a comic he produced more than a year ago.

You tell us: was your first reaction to the earthquake to share your surprise through social media channels?