It’s been six years since I joined Twitter. Long ago, I wrote an article about how it came to be that I joined what at the time seemed like little more than a fad. Cruise Law Meets Twitter.
Twitter is now clearly a monster in the world of social media with a value in the billions of dollars. My partner mentioned that she is about to buy Twitter stock. There are rumors that Google may buy it.
I learned that if you are looking for breaking news, Twitter will beat the cable news every time. Regarding cruise news, I will often first hear about a ship fire or an overboard passenger on Twitter, often while the cruise ship is still at sea.
In June 2009, shortly after I joined Twitter, I learned how valuable Twitter is to reporting cruise ships news that the cruise lines try and keep secret. The engine room of Princess Cruises’ Royal Princess caught fire during a Mediterranean cruise near Egypt. Princess initially didn’t release any information to the public. But a passenger, a Pastor from South Carolina, Greg Surratt, tweeted on his Twitter account @GregSurratt about the fire from his iPhone on the cruise ship.
Reverend Surratt tweeted that the fire had disabled the cruise ship and a tug had to tow the ship back to port. Frantic families in the U.S. had to rely on Pastor Surratt for information about their loved ones. He even tweeted photos of the fire and the passengers sprawling out on the deck in the dark (right).
When Princess finally posted its typical less-than-forthcoming corporate press statement, no one was paying attention to the cruise line. Everyone was listening to Pastor Surratt tweeting away on the cruise ship in the Mediterranean.
I first learned of other cruise disasters (Costa Concordia, Carnival Triumph, etc.) on Twitter.
I have over 12,000 Twitter followers. I tweeted over 15,000 times over the course of 6 years. That’s an average of over 2,500 a year.
What was my first tweet? I forgot. So I looked it up on an App which tells you. Mine was on March 12, 2009: Princess Crew Member Sexually Assaults Passenger.