Saturday, March 15, 2008

Wow, fast user-generated content

Within a minute of the tornado hitting the Georgia Dome (March 14, 2008), people were sending Twitter messages. Within minutes, blogs and a Wikipedia article on the storm that hit the Georgia Dome had been created.

Rapidly generated content is great, but some may question of credibility of the information. To understand the process of credibility as Jason sought information about this event, consider these steps. 

1. Jason received a Twitter message wow problems at the Georgia Dome from me within a minute of the tornado hitting the Georgia Dome. He would not have looked up information within minutes of the storm, if he had not been using Twitter and not received my Twitter message me.

2. The generic message raised Jason's curiosity, Jason turned toward a reliable tool, Google, for more information.

3. Finding the Wikipedia article, he discovered that the problem was indeed a storm.

4. Searching for more verification, he found comments on weather forums, blogs, and local media outlets and their blogs, but found no information on major media outlets.

5. Jason received my re-tweet (forwarded a Twitter message) from Leah Jones' message that linked to two searches in of Twitter messages. The TweetScan searches found messages relating to the dome and to tornados, some from people within the dome.

6. Jason Young blogged the post, Wow that’s fast, within 40 minutes of the storm.

As time progressed (less than 40 minutes), Jason's belief in the accuracy of information increased rapidly because the information came from several sources.

What did we learn from the user-generated content of this event?

  • Because individuals can generate amazingly accurate and useful content in a matter of minutes, we, in education, have tremendous opportunities to engage others to help us generate education and information. 
  • The importance of the use of multiple technologies is also evident. To develop content on the fly, we must engage in multiple communities (prior to an event or crisis), use a variety of technologies, and seek information from a variety of sources.
  • People expect information instantly and in media forms that they use.
  • People can generate content instantly in place--during the event.

Are we ready to deal with the expectation of instant information, or the expectation to generate close to real-time information?

Are we able to generate content that is available in a variety of technologies?

Are we ready to quickly react to information and opinions that individuals generate about our content and our organizations?


Anonymous said...

It was amazingly quick information. I find that I turn to Twitter for news and reliable links before almost anywhere else. I pop on Tweetscan to see what people on the scene are saying.

thanks for following me. :)

Anonymous said...

Leah, it is amazing how fast Twitter works.

I also find that when I receive the same links from people who are in different parts of my community circle, then I take more time to investigate the referring links.

And, thanks for the return follow.


Matt Collins said...

So I'm admitting exactly how much of a closet-case geek I am by leaving this comment, but you should look at the anime Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex (unlike most Japanese animation, this is worth watching). The show centers around a specialized law enforcement unit that, during their investigations, sometimes both works against and deals with the propagation of information by individual users on the net outside the normal avenues of the mainstream media.

It's an interesting look at a possible future where technology and interconnectivity have become even more pervasive in modern society. Their idea of what becomes of the USA is also interesting.