The “micro-blogging” phenomenon known as Twitter has captured the attention of many, while confounding others. In a nutshell, the service allows users to send out brief messages to friends, known as “Followers” in twitter-speak, sharing news and information or simply the minutia of your day.
The service came in especially handy for Jason Tavaria recently when he and a companion were snowboarding in the Swiss Alps and became lost in a snow storm. Despite being stranded in a blizzard, Tavaria’s iPhone still had reception, and he simply used his Twitter app to “tweet” his location, which he determined using the phone’s built in GPS. Rescue teams were able to locate Tavaria, who was unharmed and in good condition.
Tavaria’s companion, Rob Williams, was not so lucky. It is believed that while lost, and blinded by the snow, he fell of a 60 foot cliff and died. His body was later recovered from a stream at the foot of the cliff he went over.
The entire search and rescue operation played out over Twitter as well, with friends of the duo sending out messages and updates from the lodge while they waited for word on their rescue. At one point they sent out a request for Williams’ phone number in an attempt to call the young entrepreneur, who had founded the online music equipment site Dolphin Music.
This story is just another example of how connected we’ve all become and how technology is changing the way we communicate.