New media technology has made citizen journalism more prevalent worldwide. Citizens are often reporting breaking news faster than traditional media reporters. To mark the anniversary of the 79 A.D. eruption of Mount Vesuvius and promote the Denver Museum of Nature & Science’s upcoming exhibition, A Day in Pompeii, Carmichael Lynch launched a social media campaign and website that allowed people around the world to experience the last 24 hours of the ancient city of Pompeii.
On Aug. 24, through Twitter updates from the only eyewitness, Pliny the Elder, followers could receive an hour-by-hour account of the destruction. The website allowed visitors to explore the same streets Pliny the Elder did nearly 2,000 years ago. Throughout the experience, fans could discover artifacts from the exhibition, A Day in Pompeii, in their natural environment.
By recounting Pliny’s tragic experience using Twitter as a disaster-reporting tool, the historical event became a modern and timely way to excite the public. Pliny’s 4,630 Twitter followers would RT his posts, ask him for information and urge him to flee. The website, www.dayinpompeii.com, has had 16,311 visits and 29,648 page views over the last four days. Pliny’s Twitter coverage received national and global attention in the press including The Huffington Post, NBC News, MailOnline UK and FOX News generating over 62 million media impressions.