Jeffrey Cole and Karen North Featured In LA Times Article On La Habra Earthquake

The Los Angeles Times quoted USC Annenberg Center for the Digital Future Director Jeffrey Cole and Annenberg Program on Online Communities Director Karen North in an article on last week’s La Habra earthquake and the social media reaction.

Twitter was one of the first places people went to talk about the earthquake, but Cole said people were describing it as being larger than it actually was.

“Generally, the human tendency we see on Twitter and social media is to amplify and spread rumors without any filter,” said Cole. “You just get to see everyone's version of the truth.”

He added that Twitter is good for showing the scope of events, such as earthquakes.

While seismologists used their websites to collect and release information, North said they should expand their social media reach.

“Places like Caltech and the USGS need to get on Twitter so that when the torrent of tweets go out talking about this earthquake's implications for future earthquakes, they can go into that communication channel and correct false information and lead people to facts,” said North, an expert on social media.