Turkish Airlines Flight 1951 (1b)

Image via Wikipedia

My Twitter account exist for a couple of years already. I registered 11 July 2007 and made a couple of updates. From time to time but not extremely regularly. My eyes opened for Twitter on that Wednesday, 25th February. I was working in my house and as usually, I had my phone switched on and looked at Twitter from time to time to see what happens, not really expecting something. Until I saw at about 10.45 a tweet like: ‘Who is that guy – never active on Twitter and now he’s telling a plane crashed’. Because that appeared to happen: a Boeing 737-800 of Turkish Airlines, TK1951, litterally dropped outof the air just before the regular landing. I relived a bit the ‘sensation’ when the planes flew into the New York towers – what will happen? So I kept a closer eye on the streams, More people joined in and confirmed. First retweeting the ‘unknown’ guy but later also adding more. Like there’s no information at Schiphol Airport except that more or less all flights were cancelled or diverted (in that way, Schiphol doesn’t seem to learn as when something happens, the information still is not there). Tweeps added images. But still no ‘confirmation’ from the ‘old’ media. In the traffic jam near the accident, some people took pictures as they were waiting, standing still in the queue. It took the traditional at least one hour and a half to communicate something happened, and relied on the press conference for more information. I know it by then. Twitter has won the battle. For speed, and for information. That was the moment I really saw the value of this medium – and as well the limitations of the regular media in these kinds of emergencies. Where was De Telegraaf – normally very fast in coverage and close to the place of the accident? What are all those journos doing? I know it is a discussion but always when something happens, it’s Twitter that beat the news. The plane making an emergency landing on the Hudson river. The Egypt revolution. This week, a fire in Lemmer at the Polem factory. First pictures and a bit of useful information: it was on Twitter. BNR Radio, one hour later, talked about ‘fat black smoke taking the air’. By that time, this was not the case anymore. The fire was not under control yet but not that fierce as it was. The traditionals were late. And, unfortunately: this is often the case. Journalism can’t beat Twitter in speed, but it will do in depth. Well-documented. For fast and emergency information, Twitter is number one. And I think this should be used more in communication. In crisis situations, Twitter should be the first aid in the tool kit. To inform people. The few ones that may actually see that tweet will RT it, I’m sure. Information get spread fast – and that’s needed in those situations. The established media should make use of this more often. It will empower them.