“Once we heard the gunshots and got up, we were watching out the window, and I actually started Tweeting it, what was going on,” said Jeremy Powell, who is the morning show producer on Dave FM.
Everything plays out now, moreorless, in real time. (Witness the dude in Pakistan inadvertently Tweeting bin Laden’s demise.) Via Twitter, uStream.tv, Facebook and YouTube. Everything except for crippling disasters in the rural American south.
NPR’s Morning Edition today focused on a small town in AL ravaged and wrecked by the storms of Wednesday, April 27, 2011. The worst series of tornadoes ever recorded in the United States.
We were able to watch this tornadic mayhem play out in real time from the Tweets, and the seemingly endless stream of citizen media, coming out of the Birmingham and Tuscaloosa, AL areas; Tuscaloosa being the home of (fully wired) University of Alabama, so it’s little wonder so much media came from there.
There was so much out there to follow I gave up trying to curate it in real time, such as with a paper.ly product, as I like to try to do with real time disasters in the nearby (GA) area.
I just slapped a #tornado hashtag-generated column onto my TweetDeck and let that serve as my eyes and ears until I collapsed from pan media-watching exhaustion later that evening.
But there was no real time media coming from the more rural areas of AL, places also in the paths of some 300-plus tornadoes that day/night. Morning Edition finally caught-up with what’s on the ground now, for a national audience, almost a week afterwards, in Hackleburg, AL.
That story is here. No mention whatsoever of any Twitter, Facebook, YouTube. Internet = zero in rural AL? Or just another case of MSM herd mentality? Could be some of both.
One has to assume that rural AL is not wired for real time crisis communication use the way we’re becoming accustomed to now, though. And that needs to change.