I'd like to direct everyone over to Eric Holdemans blog; Disaster Zone. Besides the fact that I follow his blog closely, there is a wealth of insight posted there. Eric was kind enough to speak with me on Mitigation Journal a few weeks back on the topic of technology in disasters (see www.mitigationjournal.libsyn.com #86). One of the items we discussed was the use of social networking sites, YouTube, and services like Twitter; the ability to get real-time data from forward observers (those actually at the incident site).
A recent posting on Disaster Zone highlights this potential...and Eric puts the topic in focus.
(http://www.disaster-zone.com/2008/12/continental-passenger-twittering.html) A passenger on board the plane that skidded off the runway recently. Here is the direct link to the Twitter page from this passenger.