Shaken, Not Stirred
While the rest of the country focused on the presidential town-hall debate last Tuesday night, Mainers were abuzz with excitement on an entirely different topic–a 4.0 magnitude earthquake that hit a few miles from Lake Arrowhead around 7 pm Tuesday evening. Lake Arrowhead is less than a quarter mile from my house, and the funny thing is, Lake Arrowhead is not a municipality…it is a literal lake. Lake Arrowhead Community is a homeowner’s association, however, so you could call it a quasi-municipality, and for a day or two we were ON THE MEDIA MAP.
I was bopping around on Facebook when the quake hit. The house shook, and a blast of sound like an explosion had me bolting out of my office share and down the stairs to the first floor to check on Dear Daughter and my dog, Delilah, who only barked once (unlike when she sees a squirrel outside and throws a full-on intruder alert). Like many, I thought maybe the furnace blew up…or the roof was caving in because a pine tree fell on it. As the house continued to shimmy like Mother Nature bellydancing, I realized it was an earthquake. I bounded back upstairs to post on my Facebook page the following elegant rhetoric:
“Holy crap did we just have an earthquake?”
I wasn’t the only one. Facebook posts surfaced on the screen like bass during a insect hatch on Lake Arrowhead. Within minutes my Facebook feed was all “earthquake.”
This is the real story, I think.
Yes, we had an earthquake. It was a big one by Maine standards; however, it was the speed of social media response (could we call it “reporting” even?) that illustrates how much society has changed. Twenty minutes after my Facebook post, the first reporting by the online news sites trickled in. Trickled? That is how we describe news reporting a mere twenty minutes after an event? Crazy, but true.
Here is one example of the viral nature of social media. A spoofy Facebook page called ISurvivedThe101612Earthquake gathered over 84,000 “likes” in a mere fifteen hours after the quake. 84K! We are living in a New Media Age. News is immediately reported and transmitted and shared and “liked” and “tweeted,” and we expect nothing less than that immediacy. We are all in the loop all the time. The fault lines have shifted. We, all of us, ARE the media circa 2012.
So, almost a week later, the frenzy has passed, the buzz had quieted, and nobody talks about the earthquake much. Guess it’s old news now, but we sure did have fun here for a couple of hours . . . Outside the Box.