When Continental Flight 104 careened off the runway at the Denver international airport, it resulted in a broken fuselage, burning flames, torn away landing gear and engine, and temperatures so high that the interior compartments actually began to melt. The crash left thirty-eight injured and no deaths.
For software engineer and plane crash survivor Mike Wilson, there was little doubt about what to do in the wake of this traumatic event. Call home to let everyone know he’s okay? No, not quite. Check the other passengers and assess for injuries? Not exactly.
No, Wilson decided that the natural thing to do in this situation was to write a Twitter update to his account. Expressing a universal and articulate sentiment, the message read, “Holy f***ing s*** I was just in a plane crash.”
Utilizing more technology, Wilson lost his glasses in the crash but still managed to take a picture with his camera phone of the burning wreckage. In fact, he was sending Twitter updates of the event until the battery on his phone ran out. One of his last messages was a comment on the lack of drinks being served to the evacuated passengers. “I can’t even get a vodka-tonic. Boo.”
And the Twitter updates for Wilson don’t look to slow down anytime soon. When he made it home safely on his new flight, he alerted the world with a triumphant, “Touchdown! The crowd goes wild! Wife just picked me up from the airport. Relieved.”
Is it the sign of a Twitter-addicted nation that the first thought as you pull yourself from the burning rubble of a fiery crash is, “Hey. You know what I should do? Post a tweet!”
While it seems unconventional and perhaps even a little strange that this behavior would occur, it’s not the first time Twitter has been first on the scene of news events. The Mumbai attacks, the death of Heath Ledger, and earthquakes rocking California were all stories that spread quickly on Twitter.
So maybe it’s not so strange. Maybe Twitter updates are the way news is going to be spread now. And this is all well and good. But still, if I had just plummeted from the sky and miraculously lived to tell about it, my first technological communication is still going to be a good ol’ fashioned phone call home.