SocalTech.Com reported on Friday (22 May) that Bill Snitzer has created a new Twitter robot pushing real-time earthquake information to subscribers. @earthquakesLA is a good utility, providing both text and graphic information using data supplied by the US Geological Survey (USGS), including expanded location information.
Twitter is rapidly gaining interest as not only a social networking tool, but also a utility used for emergency notifications. Recent fires in the Santa Barbara area (Jesusita fires, May 2009) moved so quickly that normal city emergency notifications could not meet the needs of residents and students in the affected areas.
Students took the lead in quickly establishing a notification system through Twitter, giving Twitter users the information they needed to both evacuate and avoid getting caught in the path of a killer wildfire. While it is hard to quantify actual results of "TwitterNet" on personal safety in the Jesusito fires, it is safe to assume immediate information at a minimum served the purpose of alerting many people they were in harm's way, and to get to a safe location or rallying point.