Snowbound but not offline
As Washington-area readers can attest, we've had a little snow this weekend. As in, anywhere from 16 inches to two feet. So that's kept a lot of people in their homes, or at best in their neighborhoods--and in response, most of them seem to have jumped online to post Facebook status updates, Twitter updates, and photos and videos of the winter wonderland outside--and then post their comments on all of the above.
I felt more than a little peer pressure to make my own contribution by Saturday afternoon, as my Facebook news feed overflowed with prose and photos about snowpocalypse/ snowmaggedon/ snOMG (choose your pun), and my own contribution was one update I wrote from my phone while out on a cross-country ski tour of the surroundings.
I felt even more pressure by Sunday morning, when I still hadn't uploaded my photos.
But I should not have been surprised at the flurry of blizzard blogging. Is there a better use case for online social media than a collective experience that keeps people from meeting in person?
Compare the results to the snowstorm of 1996, when my only way of sharing the joy with distant friends was a series of ecstatic, text-only e-mails with an old classmate in California. Posting any photos would have required waiting for them to get developed, then schlepping over to the newsroom to borrow a scanner. Yes, I think I prefer the 2009 version.
(It helped that most people seem to have kept power and Internet service throughout the storm this time around. Thanks, electric utilities and Internet providers!)
If you're reading this from behind a snowbank somewhere in the D.C. area, what's your favorite example so far of people using social media to share the snowstorm experience? (If you're reading this from somewhere sunny, admit it: You're jealous, aren't you?)
December 21, 2009; 4:45 PM ET
Categories: Digital culture
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