A friend tweeted this today after the earthquake tremor hit Maryland. I remember this song as one of the greats on Carole King’s Tapestry album that I used to play over and over. Today though it had a different meaning for me. I was at my sister’s, both of us in the living room with my mother when we felt shaking. My sister and I looked at each and I stood up and said, “Earthquake?” Last summer we had some tremors early in the morning and the first thing I did then was check Twitter. I wrote about it and sure enough so did my sister so we called and then followed the other tweets from around the area.
Today the shaking was much longer and stronger. It was a beautiful day so the windows were open. I ran to the front window and Diane ran downstairs to see if the washing machine was shaking. Then the shaking got worse and I ran to mom to reassure her and yelled for my sister to come up out of the basement. She went outside and birds were flying wildly about and I then heard kids and saw the church school across the street had evacuated. Then the shaking stopped.
We both had been on our computers so I immediately put a message on Facebook about the earthquake and checked Twitter. There was nothing on the TV yet. Diane started reading the posts from Twitter coming from not just Maryland but Virginia and New York. There was a confirmation of a 5.8 earthquake. I decided to walk across the street as I thought they might want to know what was happening. Students were sitting on the curb, far from the church. Some boys asked me if I felt it and I said yes. They were thinking something had happened in the church, so they couldn’t believe I had felt it also. I, though a teacher, wasn’t thinking and said yes, it was an earthquake. I headed to a huddle of teachers who were now aware of me and had started walking toward me. I told them it was an earthquake and they were relieved that it wasn’t an explosion in the building. I saw one had her cellphone but she was not able to get service.
As I walked back past the boys I said, “This is something you can tell your grandchildren about.” Then I added, “I hope you never feel a stronger earthquake.” I came back to my sister’s and called a friend in SC and had no problems with service. He had just heard and was getting ready to call but had felt nothing.
It is interesting how we find out things today. In the book War News: Blue & Gray in Black & White I read how newspapers used couriers or telegraphs from reporters in the field to find out what was going on during battles. During World War II, the public waited for newsreels at movie theatres to see what was happening on the front. Today we get frustrated when we can’t get through right away on our cellphones, our computers, or when the cable and network news don’t have the latest information. We want to know what is going on when something big has happened from the huge snowstorm of 2010 when here we were snowed in for a week or when there has been hurricane and tornado damage in our country or abroad, or something as tragic as 9/11 when we were in shell-shock that this had happened in our country. We try to contact people we love to make sure they are OK. We want to share experiences, to hear the stories. Say what you will about social media but oftentimes it really does bring us together.
How do you use social media to stay in contact with friends and family?