n the wake of the Deepwater Horizon disaster and the resulting millions of gallons of oil that rides the waves of the Gulf of Mexico to adorn the beaches and wetlands of U.S., it seems that the online hero is the use of social media as the digital battleground to either openly share or contain information about one of the worst oil spill in history. Corporate public relation professionals, environmentalist, concerned locals, national media, and the government have used Facebook, Twitter, and quick response Web sites as tools in an ever-growing struggle to contain and control public perception of the crisis.
While it would be great to see such energy directed to the actual problem. The reality is a new media race against a 24-hour clock that tics faster and faster. From theÂ first reports of the oil rig explosion, to the realization that the results of theÂ disaster was going to be significant, to theÂ continued outrage, the use ofÂ humor to deal with the problem by the likes ofÂ Leroy Stick, information shared by theÂ Unified Command for the BP Oil Spill, and reports that theÂ government is attempting to stop open reporting of the disaster with the threat of felonies and fines. What the Deepwater Horizon disaster demonstrates is that we all have the power to become the media with the flexibility to cover events and share opinions in real-time. And, by decentralizing and liberating the flow of information about what transpires both from a finite source and the clock, we truly become better informed.