Thursday, March 3, 2011

Assignment #2: Hawaii Tsunami Scare

Title: Hawaii Tsunami Scare Reveals the Power of Social Media

Author Surname: Russo

Author First Name: Tommy

Publication Date: March 03, 2010

Publisher: Maui Times

Tags & Keywords: collective action

Retrieved from:

Russco's, MauiTime co-owner, recaps events from the notification that Hawaii was going to be hit with a destructive tsunami to when Hawaii was out of the danger zone. Russo and other staff talked to residents, monitored the internet and captured and streamed video clips using an iPhone. MauiTime website crashed so the staff relied on the collaboration of information through Facebook, Twitter and MauiTime blog.

A Hawaiian resident, blogged on how she was able to prevent panic with her family and friends who live across the world. She relied on Twitter, as per tweets below, and other social media sites to message her family that she was safe (Darling).

What happens if a natural diaster did occur? In the case of the recent New Zealand earthquake, people did die and families did get seperated. Social media was important in getting messages to families and friends across the world. "Twitter has been a key tool in disseminating news to the world, as well as being a way for people (New Zealanders in particular) to reach out and express their feelings" (MacManus).

Rehingold states that collective action is not always a good thing. Russco wrote that "some people dismiss social media sites as mostly frivolous and narcissistic. But that's missing the point. These sites are just tools—what matters is what we do with them". In a previous article I analysed when social media is misused. In the case of natual diasters collective action using social media prevented world wide panic. The information provided in the near miss diaster and the actual diaster could be used to analyze the situation. For example if governments utilize the information people provide during a time of crisis and take the necessary steps to aggregate, organize and archive the information, research could be done to evaluate the scenario and prepare for future similar situations.

Supporting Links:
Darling, R. (2010, February 27). Hawaii Tsunami Proves Social Media Power Again: Information is a Tonic. Retrieved from:

MacManus, R. (2011, February 27).#EQNZ: Social Media Response to the Christchurch Earthquake. Retrieved from:

Rehingold H. (2009) Howard Rehingold, Author, Smart Mobs. YouTube. Retrieved from:

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