How Hurricane Sandy Slapped the Sarcasm Out of Twitter

In Twitter’s infancy, it was debated whether or not reporters should break new news out on Twitter. Now that fact just seems silly, as small gems of news went out from many reporters right before Hurricane Sandy. @antderosa from Reuters, @Carvin from NPR and @brianstelter of the NYT were tweeting often and ordinary people relayed all sorts of important information regarding their specific neighborhoods. Users are able to literally watch large spectacles unfold. On Monday, New Yorkers were able to watch a seemingly endless loop of hurricane coverage, and when they realized the storm had some serious potential to harm, Twitter became very busy and very serious. A media expert who said he kept a close eye on the Top 10 Trends at the time revealed that almost all of the top ten trends were about Sandy. Some estimates conclude that there were 3.5 million (hashtags) #Sandy. The journalist here stated that Twitter allows you to feel like you are contributing to something bigger by being able to be up to date and retweet.

While Twitter is a global platform, it can be wonderfully local when needed. One commenter said that Twitter was phenomenally useful in finding out information about how much flooding the Zone A block next to him was having hour by hour. The TV was not even necessary! Of course, some trouble-makers stirred things up by advertising false horrors and creating havoc, and many erroneous pictures spread like wild fires. However, a commenter in this NYT article called Twitter a “pop-up town square.” Have you used Twitter in this way? Do you usually consider online groups and platforms to have characteristics of communities?

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2 responses to “How Hurricane Sandy Slapped the Sarcasm Out of Twitter

  • AmeliaConrad

    I haven’t personally used Twitter in this manner, but I think it’s fascinating to see how “communities” can form online. For example, I know that within the blogging world people make friends who support each other and eventually become friends in the “real world” as well. I think that sometimes the online community allows you to break out of a physical space and find others like yourself or with similar concern rather than relying on those in proximity to you.

  • hpohnan

    I think your post did a good job putting a point on my thoughts about twitter. It can be both global and local. It’s just as easy to find out minute details about a community thousands of miles away as finding out details about the community you live in. Fascinating stuff.

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