Professor Sang Nam: Social media brings home urgency of Japanese earthquake

Professor Sang Nam

Professor Sang Nam

A 7.3 magnitude earthquake struck off Japan’s east coast near the Fukushima nuclear site early Saturday morning. Sang Nam, associate professor of communications in the department of film, video and interactive media in the School of Communications at Quinnipiac University, is available to comment.

“In terms of citizen journalism, I just saw that ‘#Fukushima’ and ‘#Japan’ made it to the list of trends on Twitter, and many people tweeted about the earthquake,” he said.  “And many Twitter accounts of major news companies retweeted journalists who are currently in Japan. Also, people posted news site links about the earthquake on Facebook, and ‘Fukushima’ also made it to a trending list on Facebook.

“Many people demonstrated their concerns on Twitter and Facebook because this 7.3 magnitude earthquake hit near the Fukushima nuclear plant. What’s interesting here is that Fukushima, Japan is geographically far away from the United States, but these microblogging sites literally vanished space and time. In Japan, it was 2:10 a.m. when the earthquake struck, but there have been many instances of non-professional reporting about the earthquake on social media.

“In a traditional sense, this might be something we would find out in tomorrow’s newspaper and possibly forget about since Fukushima is too far away, but online, people feel a bigger threat because these updates about the earthquake are so frequent. In the real world, Japan might be really far away, but online, it’s like the earthquake just struck in our neighborhood.”

To speak to Nam, please call John Morgan, associate vice president for public relations, at 203-206-4449 (cell).

Categories: News, School of Communications

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