Twitter, the super-quick communication service, was used to great effect on Monday, after China was hit with its worst earthquake for more than 30 years.

Users of Twitter broke the news that the province of Sichuan had been subject to an earthquake measuring 7.9 on the Richter scale. They sent information via text messages, updating on reports throughout the day.

This is not the first time that citizen journalism has taken such a role in newsgathering on a major incident – the 7 July bombings in London is another case in point – but there was a definite shift in how the internet helped with supplying information about the quake to the rest of the world.

Regular updates

It wasn’t just Twitter, either, that continuously documented what was happening. The Guardian opened up its blogs to any information about the incident, while Global Voice Online collated various videos and articles that had been uploaded to the web.

Video-upload site YouTube also saw an influx of user-generated videos taken of the aftermath of the devastation that has left over 20,000 people dead.

It was Shanghaaist, a website about Shanghaai, China, that was the most prolific of them all, however, according to the Telegraph. Its site was updated at least 90 times, as often as once a minute, informing readers constantly about the events.