Twitter as Modern Local News: Falls Church Explosion Not Serious

I’ve been on Twitter for over a year now, and it never fails to amuse me, but today it did something new: it impressed me. In 30 minutes, a number of tweets from various people cropped up wondering what the explosion was, wondering where it was, how many it had affected, and generally spreading the news of the event. See this twitter search:


Click for larger

A number of people were immediately concerned, trying to find out information, trying to see what happened. People raised the alarm, and then just as quickly, found out what it was.

How awesome is that?

Sure, it’s still dependent on outlets that employ fulltime reporters like WTOP, and the various other mainstream news outlets, but that people could raise a number of individuals who are free and able to search for events like this, and report facts regarding them, it’s nothing short of outstanding and amazing. Thank you, intertubes, and thank you especially, Twitter.

Oh, the Explosion? Part of construction at Fort Belvoir, related to the new National Geospatial Intelligence Agency.

[Update] Or maybe not! Via DCist:

I just wanted to let you know we at Fort Belvoir received a call from the U.S. Geological Survey National Earthquake Information Center indicating an earthquake had occurred about 1:30 p.m. today. Media reports circulating that Belvoir officials had confirmed blasting here caused the reported rumbles are inaccurate. No one from this office had any information to indicate that was the case. Our scheduled subterranean blasts were set for 4:30 p.m. today. There was no unscheduled blasting at the site.
Hope that helps.
Don Dees
Fort Belvoir Public Affairs

Huh! Earthquakes! In DC! What’s next?

3 Comments so far

  1. Mack Reed (mackreed) on May 6th, 2008 @ 4:12 pm

    Give them a minute. It’ll probably turn out to be an untethered weather balloon. Or swamp gas. Or sunspots. Just wait for the official government explanation. That’s the one you can trust.

  2. Tom Bridge (tbridge) on May 6th, 2008 @ 4:25 pm

    Well, that’s the really weird bit, Mack. First it was, "Oh yeah, that was us." Then it’s "Well, USGS said it was an earthquake…" and then "Well, our demolition’s scheduled for 4:15pm…"

    Something’s kinda fishy here. But I attribute it more to incompetence and stupidity than I do to sinister motives. It fits Occam’s Razor more.

  3. washwords on May 6th, 2008 @ 5:10 pm

    fabulous! I do love twitter. the problem is: between this and digg and technorati and bloglines and and and … I get so overwhelmed. I feel constantly excited AND overwhelmed by all of this. thanks for the post and link to "twitter scan" – great one more thing to track!

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