A 5.9 magnitude earthquake centered in northern Virginia just occurred about 10 minutes ago, causing buildings to mildly shake across the northeast United States. Within a matter of minutes, users took to Facebook and Twitter to report their incredulous thoughts that a moderately-strong earthquake actually struck the northeast, an area mostly immune to moderate, not to mention strong, earthquakes. The social media response took off faster than I have ever seen, and it truly shows the power of social media tools like Facebook and Twitter to spread news in a rapid, viral like fashion.
Literally within only 1 minute of the earthquake, multiple status reports started popping up on my Facebook mini-feed from my mostly New Jerseyan friends. Over on Twitter, the trending topic "Earthquake in DC" appeared within 5 minutes of the earthquake finishing. Over the next 5 minutes, it had jumped all the way up to the 3rd trending topic in the world. The remarkable speed of information travel is a unique feature of social media, which over the past few years has taken the power of the Internet to report news quickly and expanded it even further.
Lastly, traditional media institutions like radio and television have also quickly reported on the earthquake, but they were likely informed from the information spread across Facebook and Twitter themselves, which again is a testament to the power of social media in sharing and propagating information.
Details of the earthquake can be read at the USGS website, which includes the epicenter of the earthquake.
Did any of you feel the earthquake? Let us know in the comments!