I know, “duh,” right?
Let me explain.
With the vast majority of everyone I know battening down their hatches in preparation for Irene to blow through their area, I felt as though I had to choose a hurricane-related thing to crush upon.
Could it be the local farmer’s market, still appearing on schedule this morning so we could stock up on healthy food to carry us through the potential apocalyptic conditions? Perhaps it should be my handy pair of camping lanterns, holdovers from my 2006 trip to Bonnaroo? Or, Roman & Sons, who replaced all of the rickety 90-year-old windows on the first floor of our house earlier this year?
I’m crushing on all of the above, but the thing I’m really in love with at the moment is Twitter.
Something I excised from yesterday’s mammoth anniversary post was a paragraph about 9/11. Were you online that morning? All of the news sites went down. For a brief period there was no information, anywhere. Then, an amazing thing happened – blogs(including CK) started acting as a distributed network of information, reporting details more accurately and succinctly than the television coverage. People on the ground in NYC posted photos and eye-witness accounts, while everyone else helped to connect and cultivate that information.
In the intervening ten years, the world has realized that centralized news in a crisis is only effective when the crisis is affecting only a very small group of people. A hostage situation, a plane crash – traditional news excels in communicating information about this kind of news.
When it comes to revolutions and acts of nature, centralized news becomes less effective. Everyone is experiencing the same earthquake, hurricane, or plague of locusts. We are all nodes of information, we all want to know what’s happening as close to us as possible, and we all want to know what’s happening to our friends.
Twitter does all three. Tonight I’ve been broadcasting our status (so far the only casualty is a screen door), searching for mentions of our area and the local roads (the main road north of us is flooded), and keeping up-to-date with our friends (all safe!). I know Nan is fine in NC, where to find our nearest emergency shelter, and that I might need to drive our Shop Vac down the block to help with the baling at Cecily’s house.
Oh, and then there is the intermittent tornado warning/watch. I’m debating if I should remove some of my guitars from the attic.
I might be on pins and needles at the moment, but so is everyone else. We’re on pins and needs together, sharing stories and anxieties and laughter, and knowing that makes it less frightening and confusing.
Plus, no Fail Whales in sight!
Stay safe and dry, friends.