Drizzle with a chance of earthquakes in the afternoon…
On Saturday morning I was asleep – I usually am, but I was late getting up and getting online. I noticed that Skype was flashing a message – it was SY from Hospitalera Blogs asking if I was OK. Hmm I thought yes – why? I turned the radio on – it was talking about the big quake – obviously not the long awaited Wellington earthquake, and was in fact a huge quake of 7.1 in Christchurch.
Its been an interesting few days – and I don’t just mean the minor earthquakes that we have had in Wellington (and yes quakes do come in swarms, and no I didn’t even notice them). Two things came out of this: trends blogging and business continuity and communications in the Twitter world.
OK in my defence I knew no one was dead – but my second thought was – hmmm wonder what happens if I Google “earthquake insurance New Zealand” -ah I find my own Earthquake Insurance hubpage (which was written almost a year ago after Hubpages did a disaster hubmob) ranking just below the government site. Interesting because the hub was about earthquake insurance in the US – but not specifically about earthquake insurance in NZ. So that wasn’t a difficult topic to choose.
When something like a earthquake in Christchurch happens – people want information – and they want it fast. Turning on the radio was a good start – they apparently started broadcasting about 7am – 2.5 hours after the initial shock. But finding virtually no information in Google on Christchurch related seismic terms and seeming my semi-related hubs ranking well told me what to write about. Why did I put the articles on hubpages – not here? Authority – I knew I’d get fast indexing and fast promotion – and I have every new earthquake related hub I’ve put up is ranking for at least long tails within 4-5 hours (as fast as the hubpages analytics could tell me). Now if there were just some relevant ads…
Frankly for the traffic stats it would have been better if I live in California – but in real terms I am more than happy to live in New Zealand. For those of you who consider earthquakes as terrifying acts of God – you are right – unless you happen to live in a country with good building standards. Both the dismal Haiti quake and Christchurch’s quake where about the same magnitude and depth and proximity to a city. No one died in Christchurch, maybe 230,000 died with a further 300,000 were injured in Haiti. Three were seriously injured in Christchurch. Now OK the population of Christchurch is 400,000, Haiti had a lot more – but this is all about building standards. And anymore who thinks New Zealand building standards are over the top have probably been silenced for at least a generation.
Oh and there some disasters which are just too easy to predict … Meanwhile – if I’m not online and there has been a quake in Wellington, I live and work in modern wooden house which is on bedrock and at the top of the hill – I will be fine 🙂
Online Business Continuity
One of the shocking stats coming out of Christchurch is that some small retailers will be bankrupt if their business is out of action for a week. Frankly I’m shocked I had no idea they lived so close to the line. I’ve already proved that I can ignore my business for months. But what I will lose in an instant in a quake is power – which will stop my modem working instantly – even though the laptop would last for several hours (if it survived being thrown on the floor hmm).
In Christchurch the cell phones stayed up for several hours until the batteries operating the towers died. The traditional phone system lasted through out (though I suspect younger people discovered that there are phones that don’t need power). Maybe I need to remember how to connect via dial up (and a cable..) and/or a cell phone which knows about the Internet. Maybe I need a decent phone which could at least allow me to update Facebook and my blog.
I probably need some more cash too – I rarely have more than $50 in my wallet – and of course EFTPOS and ATMs need power and phone lines! I do actually have a cheque book – it would be interesting trying to persuade a retailer to take one though.
You see frankly if the big one does hit Wellington I’m not hanging around for the aftershocks and waiting for the essential services to be connected. If it hit during the day my partner will probably have to walk home from the CBD – it may take him 3 or 4 hours. Assuming that neither of us are injured – we will be walking (the roads are a disaster waiting to happen and will be impassible to a cute little urban car) north until we can hitch and find civilization (aka Gin, broadband and power) – probably Levin or Palmerston North. Our house is fully insured – I feel no need to hang around and protect if from – well exactly what?
Do me a favour – if in future you do hear about a big eathquake in Wellington (100% chance in the new 1000 years by the way) – and you haven’t heard from me online for 24 hours – please link to this post in the forums that are asking where is Lis, and put it on my facebook wall again.
Meanwhile what are your business continuity plans in the case of a natural disaster? Must admit its the first time I’ve really thought about it…