Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Day After: Surviving the Earthquake Jokes

Did you notice a minor rumbling yesterday? No, I'm not talking about the East Coast earthquake. I'm talking about all the Twitter chatter about the East Coast earthquake.

Twitter may very well have trumped every other means of communicating yesterday when a 5.9 temblor stretched its mighty influence from Virginia all the way to NY and reportedly even Toronto. Like many others, I found out about the earthquake within minutes because I happened to be checking my Twitter feed at the time. As soon as I heard the news, I went to check the three major online news sites (MSNBC, Fox News, and CNN), and none of them had a breaking news headline yet. Only Twitter had the news. That was startling.

In fact, the first "news report" beyond Twitter that I saw appeared not on a traditional news site, but on, a website dedicated to science, science fiction, and the future. (See the io9 report here.)

Photo courtesy of Famous DC
Soon after that came the inevitable: the Twitter jokes. Several were quite clever, like the pictures of the so-called "devastation" (see photo at left).

Writer Jeff Heimbuch (@jeffheimbuch) made the apt comment: "MSNBC says the Washington monument is leaning to left. Fox News says its to the right." For bringing the political commentary into the world of natural disasters, Heimbuch was duly punished lauded with ample retweets and a proud mention on NPR.

Kristin from the Geek Girls Network (@geekgirls) was hoping the earthquake meant that "real life transformers" had arrived on earth. (If only. I want to hang out with Bumblebee.)
Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

It was impossible to avoid the Carole King references too... Her famous song "I Feel the Earth Move" is on YouTube (I know you wanted to know this), and so her live performance got tweeted around. Hey, you know the situation isn't all that bad if you have time to tweet Carole King around the Internet.

Then came the lashings from California folks, who couldn't understand why East Coasters would flip out over a mere 5.9 quake. To be fair, this quake was the biggest one to hit the East Coast since 1944 (that's 67 years, for those who don't do math). So the reactions of people on the East Coast are totally understandable.

But oh, the jaded comments from the likes of actor Adam Baldwin:
"Earthquake is a 'CRISIS' in D.C.! Run away and stay away, lawmakers! Cali folks are unimpressed."

You'd think we might get a little sympathy, right? But I suspect Todd Walker, a TV anchorman from Anchorage, spoke for the majority of West Coast folks when he tweeted: "Hey East Coast, the entire West Coast is mocking you right now." Good thing I didn't really want sympathy.

Well, as a former East Coast gal myself, I'll say that an earthquake would have freaked me out. We just don't get them, and we aren't prepared for them. But I am now glad (temporarily) that I live in the middle of the country at the moment. No earthquakes here. I can relax...until tornado season.

Did you feel the earthquake where you live? Did you get a laugh out of the coverage? Share your thoughts!

Copyright (c) 2011 by Michele Chiappetta. All rights reserved.


  1. Yep I felt it! The whole trailor was rocking back and forth for about 10 to 15 seconds. Weird feeling for sure. We are only about 100 miles or so from the epi center where it happened.

  2. Wow, Deb! Crazy, huh? I hope nothing got damaged where you live.

  3. I didn't feel anything in Tulsa, OK. And hey, I like the Carole King song.


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