So­cial me­dia re­sponse to earth­quake shows peo­ple need to post more re­spon­si­bly

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - COMMENT - A MAG­NI­TUDE 7.0 EARTH­QUAKE

hit Ji­uzhaigou county, South­west­ern China’s Sichuan prov­ince, on Tues­day evening, caus­ing 20 deaths and about 175 injuries. Al­most the mo­ment the earth­quake struck, peo­ple be­gan shar­ing in­for­ma­tion about it via so­cial me­dia net­works. Thep­a­ com­ments:

Min­utes af­ter the earth­quake struck, many peo­ple in Sichuan shared pho­tos and com­ments via the so­cial me­dia app WeChat, say­ing they felt the quake at home. Af­ter the news was con­firmed by of­fi­cial sources, peo­ple sent their “be safe” wishes via WeChat. Later, videos of the earth­quake and its af­ter­math were posted.

No pre­vi­ous earth­quake has been re­ported by so many peo­ple in so in­ten­sive a man­ner. So­cial me­dia apps made it pos­si­ble for the whole of so­ci­ety to know what was hap­pen­ing as it hap­pened.

That in turn put higher re­quire­ments on the of­fi­cial news agencies. The news agencies could not af­ford to lag be­hind. With the large num­ber of so­cial me­dia posts, they needed to pro­vide timely re­ports to help peo­ple dis­tin­guish which so­cial me­dia posts are true and which are ru­mors that needed to be coun­tered.

Now that ev­ery­body can be a “jour­nal­ist”, peo­ple should learn to share con­firmed in­for­ma­tion only. Thanks to so­cial me­dia posts, res­cue work­ers can more ex­actly know where there are peo­ple trapped or who need help, but they need to make quick judg­ments about which in­for­ma­tion is true. So­cial me­dia posts should be help­ful in­stead of cre­at­ing trou­ble.

Af­ter so many earth­quakes, China’s disas­ter re­lief work is quite ma­ture. But the Ji­uzhaigou earth­quake is the first one that hap­pened in the so­cial me­dia pe­riod and the whole of so­ci­ety has much to learn from it.

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