Sunday, 3 May 2009

Twitter on Queensday

As I have mentioned on this journal, the annual Queensday celebrations in Holland were marred by a man, crashing his car into a crowd of people and some barriers at 60mph. He killed 6, and later succumbed to his own injuries. Why, nobody knows.

I watched the crash happening live on TV. I heard two dull thuds, the sound of breaking glass. The TV camera swung left and focused on a small, black car, which was racing across the junction at 30 mph or more. A police cyclist just managed to get out of the way. A photographer's ladder was swung aside. The car's windscreen was already caved in. We could not see the carnage left behind through the TV cameras - that came later. Stunned, the royal family in their open topped bus looked on. Aghast, some put their hands to their mouths at the appalling scene that met their eyes. The Queen averted her gaze after one glance. At that point, 4 people were already dead.

After a few minutes, I got my laptop out, logged onto Tweetdeck and opened a search panel for "koninginnedag" and "queensday". As details came in, I entered them on Twitter, preceded by the aforementioned hashtags. I have not counted the total number of posts, but I think it's in excess of 300 for that afternoon. At one point, I was a leading trendsetter on Twitter, and I was being referred to as 'the' source for all the information. Rumours started to fly around, and I got a bit scared when someone posted the personal details of the car's owner. That's not allowed on Twitter, and prejudicial at the very least. Fortunately, the address details were out of date. It was an address only a mile away from me. By 6 o'clock, Twitter had enough of my postings and banned me for an hour. That was also the time that the more acute phase of the event came to a close.

I had a few compliments for the solid coverage - it was a simple case of watching television non-stop and putting each and every bit of detail on Twitter. It was my way of coping with the shocking events of the day. Trying to help others, desperate to find information - perhaps with family or friends on the scene. I hope it did. help.

Tweetdeck proved invaluable - the search column, which is still open, gave me all the tweets as they came in (if preceded by the hashtags #koninginnedag and #queensday).


Sybil said...

I have said it before and I will say it again. You are a very special kind of man Guedo...Thank you for all the help you must have given to so many people. My condolances go out to everyone in your home country.
Love Sybil xx

Joann said...

I did see that on the news... very sad. Wonder what this guy was thinking??

Lori said...

I have never seen any personal use for Twitter for myself, but I see how it would be very useful in a situation like this.