Internet a Necessary Lifeline in Christchurch

Our thoughts are with Cantabrians amidst the chaos, devastation, and upheaval of this life-changing disaster, where the Internet (through Twitter) is replacing the radio. Christchurch art historian, curator and writer Cheryl Bernstein writes about her experience of the earthquake(s):

For a couple of days, our legs were rubbery, our knees wobbling. The floor rose to meet us. We weren’t sure at times if the shakes were real or imagined. After some of the real aftershocks, ones in which the house banged and rattled and mortar rained down the roof, my hands were trembling so much it was difficult to hold my mobile phone, which didn’t leave my hand or my pocket for five days straight. When we lost coverage for an hour or so on the first day when the emergency batteries ran down in the cellphone towers, I knew to expect it—and that it would be temporary—through what I’d read on Twitter. Twitter was an immediate source of necessary information, reassurance, companionship. Critically, my phone felt like a lifeline to the outside world, to places where the lawn wasn’t covered in bricks and entire shop-fronts hadn’t fallen into the street and the river hadn’t changed its course and cracks so big a man could stand waist deep in them hadn’t appeared in the roadway. A line to the old real life.

2 thoughts on “Internet a Necessary Lifeline in Christchurch

  1. Agreed! My iphone was my torch, news source, and only tool to let my boss know what happened, twitter enabled me to view HDef photos 5 mins after the quake, to broadcast to my friends/coworkers that I was safe, and to learn what services were out and where. Transfer of information was rapid and swift BUT the Chinese whispers effect did occur in some scenarios…

  2. Hopefully this will be a clear example why the Commerce Commission should remove the the Internet suspension provisions from the Copyright Amendment Bill.

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