PEJ New Media Index: Twitter and YouTube Continue to Focus on Haiti while Blogs Move On

Jan 28, 2010

After playing a large role in promoting activism and fundraising in the wake of the devastating earthquake in Haiti, various components of the social media community moved in different directions last week. For Twitter and YouTube, Haiti continued to be the dominant subject, though the focus of their attention shifted from encouraging activity to disseminating information. On blogs, Haiti still attracted attention, although several other stories received more notice.

For the week of January 18-22, fully 58% of the news links on Twitter were about the tragedy in Haiti according to the New Media Index produced by the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism. That was almost twice as many as the number of links relating to the next four largest Twitter subjects combined.

Most of the Twitter activity involved users linking to mainstream news articles about the recovery effort. At the start of the week, religious and diplomatic questions drove that narrative. By late in the week, how cell phones and text messages were aiding the relief effort became the focus. Twitter users often link to technology-based stories; the connection of these gadgets and the quake's aftermath seemed like a natural association.

On YouTube, all five of the most-viewed news videos of the week consisted of raw footage of the destruction caused by the earthquake. Viewers were able to see the extent of the devastation on their own computer screens despite being many miles away from the actual event.

Read the full report Twitter and YouTube Continue to Focus on Haiti while Blogs Move On on the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism Web site.

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