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Mexico: The earth moved and Twitter danced

By Martha Ramos

MEXICO CITY — Last saturday, an earthquake shook 10 states in Mexico. It was the worst earthquake in 10 years, but at least Mexico City is prepared for that. After the big destruction caused by the 1985 earthquake, there have been a lot of changes — different ways to protect people, to operate public transportation, keep the lights on, and even in the construction of buildings as well.

The mayor of Mexico City stayed in touch with residents during earthquake via his Twitter account.

But what we lived through last Saturday opened up a different way of communicating with each other. As always, as the earth began to move, people started to dial family and friends. The telephone system collapsed and it was impossible to talk anywhere.

What did we do? We turned to Twitter and Facebook.

The Mexico City mayor, Marcelo Ebrard (@M_Ebrard) used his own Twitter account to report about subway, electrical problems, emergency phones, casualties.

Even President Calderón used Twitter to be in touch with the people

I couldn’t reach any member of my family. Finally, a cousin used Facebook to talk to me. I found everybody was looking for me, ´cause my phone line didn´t work.

Again, as traditional ways of staying in touch failed, social networks in the web were the perfect tool.

Martha Ramos is a 24-year career journalist based in Mexico City. Throughout her career, Martha has covered a range of issues from the economy, social justice, women’s issues, politics and social media. She is the Managing Editor of 24 Horas.

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