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25 August 2011

When earthquakes hit, US Geological Survey turns to Twitter, Facebook

Image: USGS (Click on image for larger view.)

When the earthquake hit Virginia and Washington, D.C., Tuesday, Twitter and Facebook users tweeted their impressions and searched the Web to find out what that rattling was all about.

Many of them ended up exploring the social media channels of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), whose duties include tracking earthquakes worldwide.

What people found at the agency's main Twitter and Facebook feeds were posts that sought to inform the public, recruit citizen data-gatherers and even reach out to employees.

Like all good social media use, this didn't just happen. The organization both communicates information and harnesses digital media's power, for example, by asking a simple question: "Did You Feel It?—Tell Us!"

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SAWDIS:  Now this is how it should be done but unfortunately in South Africa which also experience earthquakes, this is not the way it is done.  Furthermore in South Africa you have to pay for information from Geoscience SA.   I guess it would then be fair to let Geoscience pay for information from the public?   Rather working together Geoscience has opted to go the subscription route that offended the public.  Thanks to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), amateur sceismic observers and SAWDIS social media South Africans can still get earthquake information free of charge. This is really crazy but unfortunately the current situation in South Africa.