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?