Twitter saving lives in wake of Japan disaster

twitter logo

According to a report by the BBC, Japanese doctors are applauding the social networking and microblogging site Twitter, calling it “an excellent system” that allows them to communicate with patients to let them know where they can obtain vital medication. The doctors’ appreciation of the service came to light on Friday after letters were published in The Lancet, one of the world’s leading medical journals.

While the March 11 quake knocked out most phone services, Internet access remained largely unaffected, allowing doctors to utilize Twitter’s service. In one of the letters published in The Lancet, Dr Yuichi Tamura and Dr Keiichi Kukuda of Keio University School Of Medicine in Tokyo, said initially their main challenge following the disaster was how to get vital pulmonary hypertension drugs to those who needed them.

“Forming a supply chain for such drugs in the earliest stages of the disaster was difficult; however we found that social networking services could have a useful role,” they said. The re-tweet facility facility meant that important information could be communicated quickly.

They went on to explain: “We were able to notify displaced patients via Twitter on where to acquire medications. These tweets immediately spread through patients’ networks, and consequently most could attend to their essential treatments.”

“Our experience has shown that social networking services, run concurrently with physical support, were significant in triumphing over many difficulties in the recent catastrophe,” the doctors said in the letter, highlighting the widening and positive ways in which platforms such as Twitter can be used.

It’s not only Japan’s medical profession that has been putting Twitter to good use following the disaster. The management of TEPCO, responsible for Japan’s stricken nuclear power plant in Fukushima, also launched a Twitter account to provide the public with updates on that state of the damaged reactors. At the time of writing, TEPCO’s Twitter account has more than 300,000 followers, and has seen 80 tweets in almost two months.

Twitter has become a big hit with the Japanese, with a study last year showing it to be even more popular than Facebook.

Emerging Tech

‘Rogue medicine in a bathtub’: 4 experts on the vice and virtue of pharma hacking

A biohacker, pharmahacker, and two bioethicists walk into a bar. We ordered them a metaphorical round and had a chat about the risks and rewards of DIY medicine — from unsanctioned gene therapy to medication made on the kitchen counter.
Cars

Whistleblower says a drug-peddling Mexican cartel thrives in Tesla’s Gigafactory

A former Tesla employee says the firm covered up links between some of its workers and a Mexican drug cartel, spied on its employees by wiretapping their phones, and failed to report a $37 million theft. Tesla denies the claims.
Movies & TV

'Prime'-time TV: Here are the best shows on Amazon Prime right now

Amazon Prime brings more perks than just free two-day shipping. Subscribers get access to a huge library of TV shows to stream at no extra cost. Here are our favorite TV shows currently available on Amazon Prime.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix in August, from ‘Arrested Development’ to ‘Dark Tourist’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Wearables

Leak suggests Fitbit may soon release another 'swim-proof' fitness tracker

Fitbit is reportedly launching another fitness tracker -- the Fitbit Charge 3. The new wearable is expected to include a touchscreen display, connected GPS, the ability to reply to text messages, and more. Here's everything we know about…
Mobile

We found out which Sony Xperia phones will get Android 9 Pie in 2019

Android 9.0 Pie has been released. But is your phone getting Android 9.0 Pie, and if so, when? We've done the hard work and asked every device manufacturer to see when their devices would be getting the update.
Product Review

From its stunning screen to its slick S-Pen, Samsung's Note 9 is a masterpiece

It’s jaw-dropping how much tech Samsung has fit inside the Galaxy Note 9. It’s one of Samsung’s largest phones ever thanks to its 6.4-inch screen, and the S Pen is better than ever.
Mobile

Google may finally create its first flagship store in Chicago

Google is reportedly nearing an agreement on a lease for its first flagship retail store. The store will be located in Chicago, and will presumably be where the company shows off Google Pixel phones and other hardware.
Home Theater

The best MP3 player you can buy (and four alternatives)

Want to go for a run, but your phone is weighing you down? No worries. Can't fit your whole music library on your smartphone? Don't sweat it. Check out our list of the best MP3 players, and find one that works for you.
Mobile

Google confirms it still tracks users who turn Location History off

Google is tracking your location -- even when you tell it not to. According to an investigation by the Associated Press, Google services store location data, regardless of whether privacy settings claim otherwise.
Mobile

Is your smartphone frozen? Here's how to reset your iPhone

You can do a lot with an iPhone, but if you ever run into an issue with it, the first thing you should do is restart it. In this guide, we tell you how to reset your iPhone, and explain how it differs from a factory reset.
Mobile

The HTC U12 Plus is now available in color-shifting Flame Red shade

HTC has released some pretty great flagship phones in the past few years, and it's now aiming to follow up with another one. After plenty of rumors and leaks, the company has finally taken the wraps off of the new HTC U12 Plus.
Home Theater

Crazybaby’s Air 1S true wireless earbuds won’t make you look like a dork

Audio technology company Crazybaby has launched the Air 1S true wireless earbuds, offering considerable connectivity improvements over previous models while retaining the sleek style and supreme comfort.
Mobile

A subway passenger may have snagged a shot of the upcoming Pixel 3 XL

It hasn't been too long since Google launched the Pixel 2, but it's already gearing up for the next iteration, the Google Pixel 3. Here's everything we know about the upcoming phones so far.