It's 10 p.m. and I'm still awake. I've been up since 3:30 a.m., when, for whatever reason, I got out of bed and checked my cell phone.
Six text messages, two from my mom, letting me know about a tsunami warning for the Hawaiian Islands.
Little did I know that once I logged onto Twitter (@thedailydish) this would turn into a social networking media event!
People from all over the state were posting photos of long lines at gas stations and grocery stations. TV news — which, by the day, did a stellar job reporting on the tsunami commercial-free for hours — starting broadcasting these cell phone snapshots and reporting what was being chatted about on Twitter.
We — everyone up and about, posting tweets, asking questions, sharing photos — had become a primary source of news and information. What a shift in journalism!
In just a few hours, I added hundreds of new followers to my Twitter feed, all interested in updates on the tsunami, which was generated by a 8.8-magnitude earthquake in Chile early Saturday morning. The first wave was supposed to hit just after 11 a.m. — it was about 45 minutes late — with city and state officials genuinely concerned about potential catastrophic effects.
By 9 a.m. I had been locked out of Twitter — which said I had posted my limit of 1,000 tweets. If you can believe that? After a petition from fellow Twitterers — and a few e-mails to key people — I was released from Twitter Jail and allowed to post again. (I got locked out a few hours later but was quickly released.)
Everything I needed to know about the tsunami I got from Twitter. (Facebook helped, too, especially when my Twitter site went down.) People were posting updates on everything from when Costco opened to which stations were out of gas. Everyone was a journalist yesterday — and it was awesome!
What surprised me most with the whole tsunami event was how calm everyone remained. Even at Safeway at 4 a.m., with just two lines open at first, people were polite and patient. No shoving or frenzied panicking.
And just as President Obama told folks to do, we all followed the instructions of our city and state officials. Streets were empty, beaches were vacated, people living in low-lying areas got out. It was the most civilized natural disaster I've ever seen.
Props need to go to everyone at O'ahu Civil Defense and the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (@tsunamiwatch), who worked overnight to give residents the most updated information in a timely and calm manner.
Applause to the local media, who broadcast, reported, wrote and Twittered every detail of the tsunami. (@HonAdv was also locked out of Twitter for posting too much.) I mean, Andrew Pereira of KHON (@KHONnews) got Mayor Mufi Hannemann on the phone! That's good stuff!
In all, I'm glad it's over and everyone's safe. Like Dr. Gerald Fryer of the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said, this was the perfect tsunami. You could see something happen — water levels rose and fell — but nothing major happened. No damage, no injuries, nothing. But it was cool to watch.
Thanks for tuning in!
Follow Cat on Twitter @thedailydish or send her an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.