Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Traveling on Social Networks; What's the Latest News?

Aftermath of Today's Earthquake
Earthquakes are not fun. Trust me, I know. Been a few times I’ve been sitting on a bed and the whole room starts rocking, resulting in queasiness and a generally, spooky, uneasy feeling. However, even as I’m rockin’ and a rollin’, there I am typing away “OMG….the room is shaking…EARTHQUAKE!” I hit enter, and suddenly all my friends on Facebook are alerted to my plight.

And the comments start shakin’ in immediately. “Are you all right” reflects the general sentiment of some posts. Others want to know what the magnitude was. Meanwhile, feeling ready to toss my last meal, I eagerly let them know all about it; what I was doing, feeling, or if anything broke (thankfully, ten years in California and nothing broken to speak of).

While I’m being verbal on Facebook to a select group, others have cast a wider net on the subject when it happens. Twitter is THE place to learn about a lot of news (it’s where I first learned of Michael Jackson’s passing) and earthquakes are a fascinating subject whether you’ve felt one or not.

So, taking a peek at today’s events, tweets by those who felt it emerged first; this makes sense, no? “Anyone else feel that just now? My roommate said it was a 5.8. That was surprisingly big for this area.” Now that’s enough to get a LOT of attention on Twitter, despite the absence of the word earthquake.

News directly from reliable sources immediately followed, next the tweets from individuals who either retweeted or posted the links directly with commentary of their own. “#VA quake is largest recorded in state since a 5.9 earthquake on May 5, 1897 - usgs http://on.doi.gov/nvKiKl /via @BreakingNews”

Many brow wiping tweets emerged such as “5.8 Earthquake epicenter is right at nuclear power plant at Lake Anna which was designed for a 5.9 earthquake. #earthquake” which must have brought a major sigh of relief for some. It’s unclear though, what transpired at Lake Anna after the quake, originally deemed a 5.8, went up a notch on the Richter.

Then of course, the jokers were out there too; while not being directly a part of things but feeling urgency to quip.  “Lmaooo someone on my TL said Haiti & Japan just said "only a 5.9? That's real cute lmao #Ignorant”.  And I can’t tell you how many times I saw the pic above depicting the “shocking devastation”.

Disaster, devastation, death, and divorce (the four D’s?) may be among the most viral news tidbits, based on my observations. When someone really famous dies, when the balloon boy story broke, countless earthquakes, hurricanes and tsunamis, and when J Lo and Marc Anthony announced their divorce, the news was out there!

Now, today was different; I wasn’t paying attention to Twitter for a change, when a friend PM’d me on Facebook and said “You won't BELIEVE this......my office was just shaking!! I think we had a small earthquake!!” Now considering he’s in New York State, I was a bit skeptical. However, I felt a good one in Northern New Jersey, from across the Hudson in New York, in the mid-eighties. His message prompted me to start googling, where I found the breaking news.

Sorry Twitter! Not this time. Facebook is my news source!

Leslie West of the band Mountain posted this on Facebook today: “I feel the earth move under my FOOT! Seriously! everyone is outside.... First earthquake at 65. Hope everyone is safe!” Thanks Leslie, we are cool, and we’re laughing WITH you. Leslie recently had to have his foot amputated; we admire his lighthearted ability to chuckle about it and show his concern for others.

News comes to us in so many ways nowadays. Will the word “newspaper” cease to be a common word at some point? Hello, 1984!

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