The good and the bad of news on Twitter is this: First reports can often be akin to a game of Telephone, where the original message gets exaggerated or twisted just a little bit until it’s completely inaccurate, while others are actually telling the tale in real time and after the fact.
The first reports hit Twitter 30 minutes or so before they hit the news stations. Unfortunately, the initial reports were inaccurate, stating that a 737 (correct) had crashed (incorrect, technically) in Denver. When I hear the word crash, I think “airplane fell out of the sky”. In this case, the plane had gone off the runway on takeoff. A serious situation, but a little bit more manageable than falling out of the sky.
Once that was sorted out and a mainstream source came along, reports began to spread across the Twitter stream about tweets coming from passengers, which led to the discovery of Mike Wilson (@2drinksbehind)
My hat’s off to Mike for this tweet:
You have your wits scared out of you, drag your butt out of a flaming ball of wreckage and you can’t even get a vodka-tonic. Boo
You’ve just got to really appreciate a guy who: a) stops after an emergency evacuation out of the left emergency exit door long enough to send a tweet; and b) has a sense of humor about it.
Here’s his account of the crash:
Reading his very matter-of-fact account of what would be a terrifying experience for me is fascinating. He lost his glasses, kept his phone, couldn’t get a vodka/tonic, and is just now home.
Thank you, Mike, for a compelling account of your experience, for sharing it, and for getting home safely.
If I had tuned into my local news station, I would have gotten the very dry AP account of the crash. But tuning into Twitter gave me the real deal, in 140 characters, one Tweet at a time.
Real time, baby.