“During the Virginia shootings, they found the emergency services were slow to update their reports on the latest situation and the names of those killed. Within just 90 minutes of the first deaths, however, a web page accurately describing the events appeared on Wikipedia.”
The study found that dyring the fires in California in October, web users on various websites and those using Twitter were keeping their friends and neighbours informed of their whereabouts and the location of the fires on a minute by minute basis, and were also posting links to Google Maps with which others could track the progress of the fire and mark areas where schools and businesses were shut down as a result of the threat. The media weren’t so useful, however:
“The mass media were unreliable… as they struggled to access remote areas from which website users with an internet connection could easily report. Media sites also focused on the ‘sensationalâ€™, such as fires close to celebritiesâ€™ homes, which distorted the overall picture.”
Some interesting lessons there, for both emergency services and the media, about information delivery on the Web.