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The Northeastern Earthquake’s Impact on Technology

Photo by Oli Scarff, Getty Images

Today’s 5.8 magnitude earthquake not only shook us up, but it also shook up our social networking numbers. Astonishing numbers of comments and tweets were met within minutes of the earthquake. Cell phone networks were getting bogged with phone calls and texts relating to the earthquake as well. Take a look below at the numbers:

Twitter tweeted “Within a minute of today’s #earthquake, there were more than 40,000 earthquake-related Tweets….And, we hit about 5,500 Tweets per second (TPS). For context, this TPS is more than Osama Bin Laden’s death & on par w/ the Japanese quake.” These numbers are absolutely astonishing. It amazes me that some natural disaster can occur, and our first instinct is to tweet about it. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing either because ten years ago we would have to wait for “breaking news” on TV.

In Foursquare, CNN Money reported, “As tweets poured in, thousands of Foursquare users checked in to an event created specifically for the earthquake called “Earthquakepocalypse,” which became the location-based social network’s fastest venue to hit 10,000 check-ins.” I’m curious to who created this venue. Whoever it was was pretty damn smart because it’s the most popular place in the world right now.

In Facebook, a representative told CNN Money. “we saw the term ‘earthquake’ appear in status updates for nearly 3 million people on Facebook in the US.” I can’t even begin to explain to you how many statuses on my Facebook newsfeed were related to the earthquake. I always look for mid-afternoon drama while I am at work, but the earthquake updates spoiled that for me.

I found it interesting that cell phone service slowed. Homeland Security was reportedly sending updates via Twitter and was encouraging other people to reach out through social media opposed to cell phones. It’s pretty unfortunate that we pay so much for our cell phones and contracts, and yet the service is so unstable and unreliable in worst case scenarios. I know Rich blogged about how he was bored of social media the other day, but after the results of today’s incident, social media has definitely reflected how important it is in our society still.

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