300 Australian sharks join Twitter – #followfriday just got a lot more dangerous

Web 2.0

Twitter has always been a good place for unusual people to make an impact. For every inspirational Commander Chris Hadfield, lurking just under the surface is the opposite: the space oddity that is Katie Hopkins, or the insufferable Piers Morgan. Though these travesties have now been joined by another natural enemy of humankind: 300 or so Great White, Tiger and Whaler sharks, which look set to literally make a splash on the social media platform.

According to a report by NPR, scientists have hooked up trackers on to the beasts, and then hooked up their detection computers to Twitter – having it automatically tweet out when a shark is spotted on to the @SLSWA feed.

As you can see in the tweet above, which is sent out when a shark is approaching a beach, contains data such as the type of shark, the distance and time – so anyone relaxing on the beach can stay well away from the oncoming Sharknado.

Apparently this is all necessary because Australia has the highest number of shark fatalities – with a staggering six attacks over the past two years. It really puts all of those preventable road deaths into perspective.

bearpatrol.pngOf course – there have been naysayers. As I mean, this is pretty similar to the episode of The Simpsons when following a single bear attack the town enacts a “Bear Patrol”… but who’s going to say no? Won’t somebody please think of the children?

Whilst it may have interesting scientific outcomes, Australia’s resident Lisa Simpson, marine biologist Kim Holland explained to NPR that Aussies shouldn’t assume that they’re safe now:

“It can, in fact, provide a false sense of security — that is, if there is no tweet, then there is no danger — and that simply is not a reasonable interpretation,” Holland says, pointing out that the reverse is also true. “Just because there’s a shark nearby doesn’t mean to say that there’s any danger. In Hawaii, tiger sharks are all around our coastlines all the time, and yet we have very, very few attacks.”

So there we have it – Sharks on Twitter. Now all somebody needs to do is code an app that will play the Jaws themetune whenever a detection tweet is sent out.

James O’Malley
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