Costa Rica learns to tweet

July 9, 2010

 

The number of people twittering in Costa Rica has grown 103 percent over the last year. An estimated 11,041 Ticos use the online network.
 
In Costa Rica and elsewhere, Twitter’s become the platform for breaking news, as people post to twitter.com before any other medium.
 
For example, seconds after an earthquake, you’ll see messages flash across the computer screen – so quickly you’d think the people posting had anticipated the tremor; with traditional news sources such as online newspapers or television, reports take minutes.
 
“It was first thought of as a social network. Now, more and more people are seeing it as an information network,” said Dom Sagolla, co-creater of Twitter,during an all-day seminar on Friday, which was part the Summit of the Future being held at Costa Rica’s Real InterContinental Hotel.
 
Headded that another benefit is that it turns everyone into a reporter.
 
When a plane landed in the Hudson River in New York City in January 2009, someone snapped a photo and uploaded it onto his Twitter account. It was that photo that was used on CNN.com and other news sources until other images could becompiled. The online network also helped in intelligence gathering during the November, 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India, as people in hiding in their home alerted authorities as to the terrorists’ locations.
 
What is Twitter?
 
Twitter is much like an online chat, except the text  a user sends is visible to people beyond just those participating in a conversation. Posts are limited to 140 characters.
 
In Costa Rica, all the major media sources are posting, as well as President Laura Chinchilla and government agencies such as the Costa Rica Electricity Institute and museums, bringing real-time information to their followers.
 
Although the growth rate of Costa Ricans’ use of Twitter is in the triple digits, it’s far behind other countries in tweets per capita. Singapore tops the worldwide list, according to Sagolla, nearly doubling the number of tweets of the second place country, the Netherlands. Australia, New Zealand and the United States occupy third, fourth and fifth place respectively.
 
You can follow The Tico Times online at twitter.com/theticotimes.
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