Social media key in Haiti earthquake coverage

Technology played a key role in early coverage of the earthquake in Haiti.

Global Voices reported:

Twitter emerged as the fastest, most time sensitive vehicle through which to report on the catastrophe; Facebook was also full of wall comments on the disaster, from both French and English-speaking Caribbean netizens….Regional bloggers soon followed with more detailed posts, the most compelling of course, coming from within the island.

PC Magazine reports:

With telephone service toppled due to the earthquake, those on the ground turned to Skype to speak with the media, aid organizations, or to communicate with loved ones overseas. A Connecticut-based missionary organization that works in Haiti used Skype to communicate with their people there to get a sense of the devastation….

What’s not clear, however, is whether Haitians are using these technologies to communicate and help each other. From what I’ve seen so far, the use of tools like Twitter and Facebook are more helpful for delivering news about Haiti to the outside world instead of aiding those directly affected by the crisis–a recurring theme that we’ve already seen play out in places like Iran and India.

CJR says:

The world owes a measure of debt to new media platforms—which will undoubtedly continue to play an important role in Haiti in the days and months to come—for their assistance in facilitating the early response to this disaster.

WebNewser sums up some of the other ways media covered the quake online.