Chile’s Twitter response

I know you’re not supposed to read your news on Twitter (I know!), but I’ve gotta say: compared to the news coverage of Chile’s earthquake by much of the U.S. media the last several days, the tweetosphere on Chile (including subjects #Chile and #terremotochile) has been stupendous. I started following the thread thanks to my ...

By , International Crisis Group’s senior analyst for Colombia.
CLAUDIO SANTANA/AFP/Getty Images
CLAUDIO SANTANA/AFP/Getty Images
CLAUDIO SANTANA/AFP/Getty Images

I know you're not supposed to read your news on Twitter (I know!), but I've gotta say: compared to the news coverage of Chile's earthquake by much of the U.S. media the last several days, the tweetosphere on Chile (including subjects #Chile and #terremotochile) has been stupendous.

I started following the thread thanks to my meeting star Twitterati  Enzo Abbagliati (@cadaunante) during a visit to the country this past January. And it was clear just how quickly the Tweeting has recently picked up. Tweets about ways to find missing people through Google, Tweets about how to donate to the cause, Tweets about closing libraries and opening streets. It's clear that Twitter has become a tool for everyday navigation in a country that is, for the moment, a bit chaotic.  

Here's what Abbagliati told me in an e-mail exchange today (my translation from Spanish):

I know you’re not supposed to read your news on Twitter (I know!), but I’ve gotta say: compared to the news coverage of Chile’s earthquake by much of the U.S. media the last several days, the tweetosphere on Chile (including subjects #Chile and #terremotochile) has been stupendous.

I started following the thread thanks to my meeting star Twitterati  Enzo Abbagliati (@cadaunante) during a visit to the country this past January. And it was clear just how quickly the Tweeting has recently picked up. Tweets about ways to find missing people through Google, Tweets about how to donate to the cause, Tweets about closing libraries and opening streets. It’s clear that Twitter has become a tool for everyday navigation in a country that is, for the moment, a bit chaotic.  

Here’s what Abbagliati told me in an e-mail exchange today (my translation from Spanish):

Some of the strongest eyewitness accounts of the earthquake and the tsunami were captured by users of the net and shared through Twitter, Facebook, and blogs. In these times, when there are serious problems with public order in some of the cities in central Chile, Chileans are using social media to alert one another of looting in supermarkets, stores, and individual houses."

Among the most prominent Twitterati from Chile have been NGOs and media outlets. Here are my picks on who to follow (though warning: most are in spanish): 

CNN in Chile: @cnnchile; Chile’s investigative police: @PDI_Chile; The incoming President’s new cabinet, a list: @cadaunante/gabinetepinera; The Red Cross in Chile: @CruzRojainforma; El Mercurio newspaper’s alerts: @emol_alertas; and finally, a nice collection of twitter feeds on El Mercurio here.

 

Elizabeth Dickinson is International Crisis Group’s senior analyst for Colombia.

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