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Twitter and the Christchurch Earthquake February 2011

At 12.51pm on Tuesday 22nd February Christchurch as we all knew it changed. The beautiful ‘Garden City’ and my hometown of Christchurch has been in a state of turmoil and mixed emotion since. Many iconic buildings that I, along with many others used to walk past on a daily basis have been reduced to rubble and more importantly many people have been severely affected.

The CBD is out of bounds and suburbs are gradually gaining use of water and power, meaning that some residents are only now seeing for themselves how much the quake has actually damaged their city. So many people have been affected and without community support, wouldn’t know what to do or where to turn.

The Social Media platform Twitter is playing a big part in pulling together a community who are sharing feelings of anguish, pain, loss and sadness. I myself have been saddened to read so many upset Tweets, yet amazed to watch one Social Media platform pull a community together to check on isolated people, comfort others and ask about missing people (not to mention so much more) with two simple hashtags - #chch and #eqnz.

From the time the devastating quake hit and even now as I’m writing this blog, there were Tweets, Twitpics and YouTube footage posted by the Christchurch Twitter community. People are posting their feelings, pleas for missing people, information on found people and emergency updates.

Messages of support, assistance and information on emergency services are constantly flowing in from all parts of New Zealand, with many companies and organisations advertising their fundraising events via Twitter in order to get a more immediate response.

As it was before the quake, Twitter is providing on online community of strangers, who frequently converse with one another in 140 characters or less – but the difference now is that many of those strangers are now linked through a disastrous event and are willing to put everything that they possibly can into rebuilding their city and supporting their fellow Cantabrians in whatever way they can.

Whilst many are still without power and not able to access the internet, those who are able, are helping them out by organising donations, group workforces and more via Twitter. Twitter is a foreign concept for many of us and under normal circumstances we are brought up constantly being told not to talk to strangers, but it is events like this that bring back the days of yesteryear when we used to talk to our neighbours and say hello to those walking past us on the street – Twitter has become the modern version of this for those in Christchurch and around New Zealand as a whole.

As time goes on and everyone’s thoughts are gathered, I suspect business owners will start Tweeting to ask for and offer things like office spaces, office equipment and general support for those who need it.

I would encourage those looking for comfort and company in this awful time to join Twitter and reach out to your fellow Christchurch community. They are all willing to help – even if that means just to keep you updated.

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Filed under Digital Marketing

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Jess joined Apex in 2005 after graduating from Massey University with a Bachelor of Business Studies majoring in Marketing. As an Account Manager at Apex, Jess is responsible for the management of a large number of Search Engine Marketing campaigns. Jess is a Google Adwords Qualified Individual managing numerous campaigns for our clients across a broad range of industries and a...

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