Following the 12 May 2008 Wenchuan, China, earthquake, discussion circulated on the Internet describing how the U.S. Geological Survey's earthquake notification lagged behind firsthand accounts sent through Twitter, a popular Internet-based service for sending and receiving short text messages, referred to as “tweets.” A prominent technology blogger, Robert Scoble (http://scobleizer.com), is generally credited for being the first to aggregate and redistribute tweets from people in China who directly experienced and reported the shaking resulting from the Wenchuan earthquake.

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Subsequent earthquakes generated volumes of earthquake-related tweets, and numerous accounts are on the Web. For example, Ian O'Neill discusses Twitter...

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