Faster Than a Speeding Bullet
I wasn't on campus for today's campus shooter scare that was captured in exchanges on Twitter that included UC Irvine's own Twitter stream and publicized quite efficiently to those with mobile devices via the campus's ZotAlert system, which sends notices to its 20,000 subscribers about potential on-campus threats. You can see some of the Twitter messages here.
As the Orange County Register reports in "Weapon report at UCI turns out to be a false alarm" the university sent a "text message to students warning of man dressed in camouflage, possibly carrying rifle" who turned out to be a recreational player of mock combat games, much like laser tag or paintball gun enthusiasts. The newspaper also reported about how Twitter caused the news to spread more rapidly. The campus also issued a situation update, although many complained that the main university website went down during the crisis.
Update: A message from the Chancellor points out that the incident led to a thousand new subscribers signing up for the ZotAlert system.
See this blog posting from pilgrimsteps for more about the "twexperiment."