Last night, Melbourne experienced an earthquake somewhere in the vicinity of 5.3 magnitude at around 2050 hours AEST. It’s a sizeable earthquake but quickly dwarfed by some of the major ones experienced in recent memory such as the the 9.0 magnitude quake that occurred in Japan last year – just under 10,000 times more powerful compared to Melbourne’s quake last night.
However, the size of the quake isn’t such a big deal but the speed at which it is reported.
Unsurprisingly, Facebook and Twitter were almost immediate with online news outlets taking nearly twenty minutes to churn out a one sentence “article”.
Am I being too harsh? Perhaps not, the pace at which the information flows on social networks was phenomenal and for what news.com.au could muster in twenty minutes it was irrelevant to say the least (and no change after three quarters of an hour after it was published). Makes you wonder why you would pay for online news when you could get breaking news from family, friends and colleagues in a far more interactive medium.
Television was even slower with Sky News not even mentioning it until well after thirty minutes from when the earthquake struck. Personally, I think that is far too slow for a dedicated news channel or major television network.
In my mind, this really does show how powerful social networks can be for such major events which could perhaps be measured in tweets or posts per minute to gauge the relative impact.