Tweets in the Ruins


In the wake of the earthquake, USA Today reports, Chileans have been turning to decentralized, user-driven new media:

Chile's population at 16.7 million is less than the New York metropolitan area, but the Pacific Coast nation ranks fourth worldwide in terms of social-networking penetration among its home and work Internet audience, according to comScore, a market research company specialized in online audiences.

Since Saturday's quake, traditional media here have focused on hard news—death tolls, rescue efforts, government announcements and images of lootings—while social-networking tools such as Twitter, Facebook and some Google applications have been at the forefront of transmitting highly localized information.

Top message topics are about finding families and friends, food and water, ways to get transportation.

For some specific examples, read the whole story. For more on the ways people use new media after a disaster, read Reason's interview with sociologist Jeannette Sutton.