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Social media in the Hudson River plane crash

The plane crash in the Hudson River in New York yesterday, is front page news also here in Sweden. It’s a fascinating story with a happy ending for the 155 people onboard thanks to a heroic performance by the pilot and his crew. And once more we see the power in social media when it comes to reporting breaking news in real time. My colleague Erin Byrne has a good description about how she heard the news first via Twitter.

“I first learned of the story via a “newsbreak” type alert from Twitter to my mobile phone.”

Among the very first reports was a Twitter post by Janis Krums from Sarasota, Florida, who was on a ferry that arrived on the scene just a few minutes after the plane had crashed into the freezing water. People were standing on the wings waiting to be rescued when Krums posted a note via TwitPic: “http://twitpic.com/135xa – There’s a plane in the Hudson. I’m on the ferry going to pick up the people. Crazy.” The photo he took from his iPhone was probably the first to be posted online and it has already been viewed more than 90,000 times on TwitPic alone.

Only thirty-four minutes after Krums had posted his photo online he was interviewed live on TV by MSNBC (video here). Other traditional media also reached out via social media to get hold of eyewitness stories. The Charlotte Observer first sent a news alert via Twitter and then posted several requests on Twitter.

BREAKING: US Airways Flt.1549, bound for Charlotte, has crashed into the Hudson River in New York City. Updates at www.charlotteobserver.com

If anybody sees passengers or witnesses on crashed jet twittering, pls DM to Observer

we’re looking for stringers with a journalism background for tonight in suburban New Jersey. DM to the Observer

we’re looking for stringers with a journalism background for tonight in suburban New Jersey. DM to the Observer #planecrash

#flight1549 Contact the Observer if you were on the plane – we’d love to tell your story. DM this address

#Hudson #USAirways Contact the Observer if you were on the plane – we’d love to tell your story!

The pilot Sully Sullenberger already has 22 fan groups on Facebook and there is even a Swedish one. Well deserved.

Update: Here is a map of Flight 1549 flight path.

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Posted in Crisis, Media & Journalism.

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Continuing the Discussion

  1. Spreadability over stickiness « Linda Rath-Wiggins linked to this post on August 15, 2010

    […] of the agent is pivotal for the intended outcome. Examples are apparent not only in the news (e.g. Hudson river incident), but also in advertising (good ol Spice) and the music biz (Soulja Boy, just to name one internet […]

  2. Social Media NZ Weekly Wrap-Up: Thinking about you Christchurch | Social Media NZ linked to this post on February 28, 2011

    […] other large scale disasters or uprisings such as the Iran election protest, Haiti earthquake, the Hudson River plane crash and the more recent protests in Egypt. Events such as these highlight the real usefulness of social […]



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