Editors' Note

Real estate, Twitter, Ustream


To be honest, I had been feeling somewhat fed up with the recent praise of social media by the general media. Though I had registered for Twitter due to the urging of my friends, I hadn’t “tweeted” on it much. The way in which Facebook was being linked to the revolution in Egypt was making me uncomfortable as well. This cynicism may be the result of witnessing the waning of many booms in my ten years as an IT journalist.
Nevertheless, while covering MIPIM exhibition held in early March in Cannes, France, I couldn’t ignore the power of these types of media. The MIPIM organizer had begun to provide live feeds using Twitter and iPhone app this year, which was quite helpful to me as I had to decide on which of the 50 plus conferences and countless exhibition booths to cover while I was at the venue. Also provided was MIPIM’s own social networking service, MIPIM World, which allowed the nearly 20,000 participants to send messages to each other. I made use of this to communicate with my interviewees.
But what I felt most invaluable was the realistic tweets from my friend’s Twitter accounts following the earthquake on March 11, as well as retweets on the tsunami damage and situation at the nuclear power plant. The shocking news came in the morning when I had finally sent a draft to our editorial team after working all night. Phone service in Tokyo was interrupted, but I managed to receive word that my family was safe via Skype, which was the only functioning service. Even as cancellations of flights back to Japan abounded, it was Air France’s Twitter account that notified me that my flight would depart as scheduled. Of course this is nothing compared to the pain endured by those who were affected by the damage, but for my lonely one-man trip, all this information was a great support. 
One hour before the return trip home, I watched the explosion of Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant on a NHK news flash that was temporarily being relayed on internet channel provider Ustream. I felt a difficult-to-express mix of agitation, anxiety and pity swelling up inside of me.
(Jun Homma)

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