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My News Flow on Flight 1549 | DesignNotes by Michael Surtees

My News Flow on Flight 1549

My News Flow on Flight 1549

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FlightAware > Live Flight Tracker > US Airways #1549 > 15-Jan-2009 > KLGA-KLGA_1232055644582

When I found out 23 minutes after Flight 1549 landed in the Hudson river via skype, like everyone else I wondered wtf. But rewinding my time line about 45 minutes before the plane went down, I was having lunch with a couple friends talking about plane crashes that Gladwell talks about in his book the Outliers. While I don’t think his theory works within the context of the Hudson River landing, the timing was a bit freaky.

I’ve always been interested in the news, not so much on the reporter side but as someone that wants to take in as much information as possible. Those senseabilities fit in nicely were I work as the Design Director of the news service Daylife. Now that I’ve had a couple days to step back, I thought it would be a good time to re-exam how I came across news that day.

Since I started using TweetDeck I’ve found it a lot easier to manager a ton of people to follow. One of my streams is just of news sources that have twitter feeds. Typically it’s on all day flowing headlines and other info unless I’ve blown my 100 api calls it’s on. While it is on all day no one has time to follow every single tweet. How I found out about the crash landing was via Daylife’s internal skype chat where it was mentioned that a plane had crashed into the Hudson with a link to CNN’s streaming live video of the event. Soon after that I went back to TweetDeck and was surprised that there wasn’t that much mention of it yet. Of my 100’s of news feeds, the first twitter came from Reuters while the first person mention it at the same exact moment was danpatterson.

Between the live streaming video w/ reports of what was going one + people I was following on TweetDeck about the first images I wasn’t really interested in going to a static site that hadn’t reported anything yet. Those first minutes where it wasn’t entirely clear what was going on, the events were literally playing out in front of my screen. My network of people that I followed spiked very quickly with people that were getting re twittered (RT). That in itself is worth a closer look at sometime in the future. Basically someone that I was originally following mentions someone else that they were following that I wouldn’t have seen otherwise – sharing info that I probably would be interested in. So very quickly valuable info like photo’s and news was able to be passed on.

During those events these were my tweets:

U.S. Airways Plane just went downi in Hudson River… cnn streaming video: 3:53 PM Jan 15th from TweetDeck

RT @seanaes: USAIr crash pics on flickr… – Crazy! 4:01 PM Jan 15th from TweetDeck

from Reuters :… 4:06 PM Jan 15th from TweetDeck

more images from the hudson river, should populate more once they come in 4:21 PM Jan 15th from TweetDeck

RT @daylife: Photos of plane that landed on Hudson River #usairways – 4:23 PM Jan 15th from TweetDeck

Live Flight Tracker > US Airways #1549 RT @kottkedotorg: Hudson River plane crash 4:38 PM Jan 15th from TweetDeck

RT @LindsayGriffith: RT @caminick: Reporter” “What was the landing like?” Passenger: “Scary as shit!” #usaircrash 4:51 PM Jan 15th from TweetDeck

RT @jenniferdaniel: #usair 5:06 PM Jan 15th from TweetDeck

Thinking about it now, the speed of events was pretty crazy. Within an hour and half I had learned that a plane had landed in the Hudson River, saw images within minutes of it happening, watched the rescue live, hearing survivors being interviewed soon after, and by the time it was over knowing that everyone was going to live – I was listening to music from A Flock Of Seagulls. All the tools that I used to get more info was available to anyone out there which was kind of cool in itself.

A couple other side notes: Here’s a couple transcripts from 911 calls reporting the crash landing… I had taken a screen shot of the actual flight from a flight tracker and posted it on flickr. I did this b/c I wasn’t sure if it would stay up permanently or not. That image received a decent amount of traffic but more interesting to me was the info that I got from someone posting a comment that seems to know a lot about air travel. That flight tracker site also has an interesting discussion of the events too that’s worth skimming – they know their stuff. While it’s not exactly news it certainly fits into the flow of the past events. And with the luxury of time, a day afterwards there was recorded video of the landing on the net. The other thing with time is that you can get the proper story via the normal news sources to tell the full story, but when things are happening asap I still think there’s a lot of room for improvement.

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  • vekleft

    While I'm a bit of a tech addict myself, and had my iPhone twitterific in hand as my desktop system 6ft away had browser open reading RSS feeds, it was the cable tv across from my bed tuned to CNN that really showed me the story (with the occasional surf to other news channels to see what angle they were shooting from).
    The stunning first twitpic of the plane was momentous, but I found that much of I saw in the twitter/blog/instant update world was of greatest interest for transparently showing the process of people catching on to the story. Data voyuerism. The medium is fetishized.