Unfortunately, an impending disaster is sometimes the impetus for naysayers to see the worth of a service like Twitter.
The hashtag being used on Twitter to track the tweets referring to Tropical Cyclone Yasi is #tcyasi. I’ve been following this hashtag today, and as the cyclone gets closer to the east coast of Far North Queensland, I am receiving more pertinent information there than what I am getting from news organisations like Channel 7 and their very sensationalist Today Tonight program. I, like many others on Twitter, was horrified to see Today Tonight using a countdown clock in the top right hand corner of the screen as they broadcast their program tonight. This is a potentially devastating climactic event, not the Olympic games.
Yes, sometimes you have to put up with some inappropriate language and some irrelevant tweets, but following a hashtag to find out what people are sharing about something like Tropical Cyclone Yasi is one of the most effective ways I know of keeping up to date with what is really happening from a citizen journalist perspective, and from a traditional news media perspective, as evidenced from the ABC_NewsRadio tweet above.
Right now #tcyasi is a trending twitter hastag worldwide. This gives you some indication as to the number of tweets on the twitter timeline using this hashtag. I’ll be following tonight and in the coming days. You should too. As much as I hate to see something as devastating as this convert people to the benefits of a service like Twitter, it’s more likely to be the catalyst for adoption than any attempts Twitter users can make to convince people of its worth.