Facebook & Twitter Oversold Hurricane Irene

facebookWelp, Hurricane Irene has come and gone, and for the most part, New Yorkers were spared the devastating outcomes they were convinced they'd experience. If you must know, I, for one, never even lost power throughout the entire ordeal (knock wood). In fact, the only visible remnants of a hurricane in my neck of the woods were a bunch of branches on the sidewalk, a knocked down tree or two, and more trash in the streets than usual. 

For other non-New Yorkers, like my dad and a few of my co-workers, they weren't so lucky. Their streets (or basements) are flooded, and they're still without power. But that said, for the most part, with the exception of a few unfortunate happenings, Hurricane Irene wasn't nearly as scary as it was hyped to be.

'Cause Lord knows it was hyped.


Saturday night -- the night New Yorkers were instructed to stay in -- I must have checked my Facebook and various Twitter accounts 9 million times, because A) I couldn't leave my house, and B) we had already watched four movies and every episode of House Hunters International ever taped. And what was I seeing on these social media sites? Sheer and total panic.

Some of the things I read:

"Oh my God, I think it's starting! Batten down the hatches!"

"I just heard Irene has winds of 200 miles per hour!"

"Oh no, I forgot to pick up water! Ahhhh!"

"We're all gonna die! See you on the other side."

Okay, maybe I made some of those up, but the Internet was in a state of virtual chaos -- and it wasn't just social networking sites, it was any and all blogs and news sites, too. And as my husband and I quietly watched TV and periodically checked the windows, I couldn't help but wonder, "Am I not worried enough?" I mean, if I didn't have actual proof in front of my very own eyes, I would have thought it was Armageddon.

This is the world we live in now, though. A world where any single event -- no matter how big or small -- is now blown up into preposterous proportions. Take the earthquake in New York last week for instance, or the royal wedding, or Beyonce being pregnant! Sure, they're all newsworthy events in their own right, but you'd think it was the last piece of news we were ever going to hear at the rate people Facebook and Tweet about it.

That's okay, though. If that's how people want to act, fine. Who am I to judge? I'm just glad I'm not one of those fervent Facebook/Twitter reporters any time something happens. I save that for you guys.

Did you see a lot of Facebook messages/Tweets about Irene?


Image via English106/Flickr

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