Microblogging community Twitter has created a couple of videos that illustrate the global flow of information in the moments after Japan's March 11 earthquake.

The videos appeared on Twitter's official blog on June 29 and show how people change their social networking habits in the face of major events.

According to Twitter, "the volume of Tweets sent per second spiked to more than 5,000 TPS [tweets per second] five separate times after the quake and ensuing tsunami" hit Japan.

Minutes after the disaster struck the rate of personal messaging jumped up by 500 percent as family and friends used the social network to contact their loved ones.

The first video posted to the blog visualizes the transfer of @replies traveling in and out of Japan in the one-hour period just before and after the earthquake.

"Replies directed to users in Japan are shown in pink; messages directed at others from Japan are shown in yellow," explains Twitter.

The second video shows the spread of information as people around the world tweeted and retweeted information that originated in Japan in the hour after the earthquake.

Social networks such as Facebook and Twitter are becoming increasingly important tools in the hours following major natural or human disasters; however, they can also be a great source of misinformation for those who are not wary.

You can compare Twitter's tweets visualization with the Japan Quake Map, http://www.japanquakemap.com/.

 

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