Is Twitter the Best Source in a Crisis?

Twitter took on new life during Hurricane Sandy, reports the New York Times. In normal times, Twitter users are sarcastic and snarky, but as the storm got worse and worse, everyone became reporters, tweeting what was going on in their neighborhoods and areas, documenting the storm in real-time.

This occurrence was incredibly valuable, especially for those who lost power. And for many it became the primary source of information.

“To me the most basic act of journalism there can be is: ‘I’m there, you’re not, let me tell you about it.’ Or: ‘I heard it, you didn’t, let me tell you what Bloomberg said.’ And the fact is Twitter is rife with such. That is why it is basic in a sprawling emergency,” said Jay Rosen, a professor of journalism at New York University, quoted in the Times piece.

It’s pretty amazing that Twitter – where updates can only be 140 characters – performed such a vital task during a crisis. This certainly proves that social media will be important in the future, probably more than we could ever imagine.

What do you think about the steady stream of news coming in during the storm? Did you participate?