Were You Awake at 4am This Morning?

(Less than half an hour after the L.A. earthquake this morning, the term “earthquake” dominated the local Twitter trends in L.A.)

Unfortunately, I was, when the earthquake in the L.A. area happened around 4 am this morning. According to the US Geological Survey, it was only a 4.4 magnitude quake and was centered about 12 miles under the city of Pico Rivera. Sounded minor right? But it did feel very real to me this morning when I was lying in bed in the dark. For about ten seconds I thought I was on a flying carpet when the whole bed was jolting and the windows above my bed were whistling. A couple of seconds later, lying in the dark, hearing the car alarms going off on the street, a pretty surreal feeling struck me when I realized that an earthquake might just have happened. “Was it just further proof that I was really living in the restless city of L.A. or was it all just a dream?” I asked myself. But since everything quickly returned to normal in the middle of the night, I knew there was only one place in the world at that moment that could give me the answer.


I turned on my laptop, which was placed on the edge of my bed, thank goodness it hadn’t been slipped to the ground during all that shaking. I searched “earthquake L.A.” in Google about five minutes after the earthquake, and the first three results that came to the top were about old earthquake entries from USGS, but the fourth one was real time results from Twitter. According to the results, many people were already engaged in an intense discussion about the earthquake that had just happened. The discussions were not only from L.A., but also from China and South Korea. Nice, it was not a dream.

My friend Julie (glad she was awake too!) tweeted at that moment that this was the first time she turned to Twitter for news, just as I had. I have heard so many anecdotes before of how Twitter has been such a useful platform for people to exchange information during emergency circumstances like the Mumbai terrorist attack. But this time, I experienced the power of Twitter, the real-time news outlet, myself. It was for real!

Here are some interesting tweets that really helped to ease my nerves in the aftermath of the earthquake:

earthquake in LA. fault just a few miles from parents house. son’s ok but dad wondering how I heard so quickly in China. πŸ™‚

christineluβ€Ž twitter.com seconds ago

Earthquake in LA. Over 300 related tweets every 5secs. Amazing how realtime the technology is! #fb

tohirβ€Ž twitter.com 3 minutes ago

Is amazed at how many people are up at 4AM talking about the earthquake in LA. Hi from South Korea!

AndrewLeonardβ€Žtwitter.com3 minutes ago

I think like 50% of the people I follow live in LA. Based on these earthquake tweets, at least.

oceana_rollβ€Žtwitter.com3 minutes ago

Los Angeles Earthquake: 4.4 Tremblor Hits Pico Rivera

Huffington Post3 minutes ago

4.4 earthquake in CA, near LA… Glad everyone’s ok! RT @ninjabetic: 1 picture fell off the wall. Kids are a bit nervous.

martin_j001β€Žtwitter.com4 minutes ago

There was an earthquake in LA? Can’t find it on any media but my Twitter is filled with updates on the case.

minieerikkiβ€Žtwitter.com4 minutes ago


3 thoughts on “Were You Awake at 4am This Morning?

  1. Thanks for the shout out! Yes, it was comforting and informative to go to Twitter for real-time news. The earthquake scared me and since my phone was right next to me, I thought that Twitter would have the answers I was looking for (the earthquake magnitude, if other people felt it, etc). Glad everyone is ok!

  2. yes, glad there was no real damage and everybody was okay! My first earthquake in L.A., hope the second one will never come!

  3. Wow! That's crazy that you felt the earthquake, Ruby. Actually, it's probably not as crazy as I made it sound. I just haven't woken up from an earthquake before and forgot what they felt like even though I've lived in LA for all 20 years of my life. Glad everything's ok!

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