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Sandy and Social Media

Picture of Kyle Sacks, Social Media Coordinator

Kyle Sacks, Social Media Coordinator

I don’t know about you, but I think social media has made disasters way more interesting. I don’t want to make light of nature’s fury; hurricanes, earth quakes, torrnados, they’re terrifying events. But with Sandy bearing down on my house this week, experiencing her in real time, with half the Eastern Seaboard, was fascinating.

Leading up to Sandy, there was plenty of humor making light of the potential disaster, as only the internet can do. It started with the obligatory joke Hurrican Sandy Twitter account. Mitt gave some good advice on how to weather the storm for the 1%.

Tracie Egan Morrissey at Jezebel tells her Sandy story poeticality through gifs. I even shared my own master plan that didn’t quite work out.

 

It was all fun and games, but as Sandy made landfall, the tone shifted. The sarcasm dried up and people became serious and thoughtful. We shared information, news and pictures, some fake, some terrifyingly real.

As power started to go out, Twitter became our one connection to each other. I huddled over my phone watching the updates, chatting with friends and playing word games. David Carr for NYT has a great piece describing the role Twitter played during Sandy. Read it, it’s fascinating.

Social media served a bigger role than just staying connected. Maybe news outlets turned to Twitter to break stories as more people were without power. Emily Rahimi runs the New York Fire Department’s Twitter account and became a lifeline to New Yorkers that couldn’t get through to 911. Rahimi posted updates about the storm and alerted dispatchers of people that needed help. It was pretty incredible what she did.

It’s a cliche to say that technology is bringing the world together, but every time there is an event like Sandy, I’m reminded just how small our world has gotten. And how interesting the people I share it with are.

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