Last week your2pence set itself a challenge – to get people across the web to contribute to our website as a UGC news platform.
In the wake of the news that Japan had been shaken by an earthquake, tsunami and nuclear explosion, we solicited people on Twitter to share their pictures/stories with us, using all the relevant trending hashtags:
Having received no response, we then tried tweeting – in what we hope was accurate/legible – Japanese…
Eventually we received a response from @7e313 in a series of tweets:
It is interesting to discover that there are areas of the devastation in Japan not covered by the media, and that the press is in some way restricted. However, we tried to ask this contributor further information and didn’t get a reply. With this information we’d opened up a can of worms in terms of unanswered questions.
Meanwhile we’d also got in touch with Vic.Bai who had posted photos of his experience of the earthquake on Flickr. He’s an exchange student studying in Fukushima Japan. After the earthquake he was stuck in Fukushima, unable to escape:
People with no home sleep in the supermarket
The food for us
Finally, the Chinese Embassy in Niigata, Japan, sent us 6 big buses. On that bus I wrote “Help” in Japanese on the window.
Encouraging people to share their experiences with us in the midst of this crisis has proven difficult on several accounts – there is a language barrier (most of the Twitpics have been posted in Japanese), many parts of Japan are currently experiencing limited internet/phone coverage, and the fact that this is currently the leading international story means we are a needle-in-a-haystack in the vast amount of material being published by the established news platforms.
We decided to try our luck with a news story a little closer to home…