February 11, 2013

Social Media Proves It's Worth Its Weight In Snow


If you’re anything like me, you’ve been trying to find ways to entertain yourself over the last few days during this incredulous snowstorm takeover. Some of my friends have resorted to movie marathons (notably, Finding Nemo), others dedicated this time to finishing that one book they’ve been sluggishly reading, and I’ve taken to a bit of online shopping. More specifically, if you’re anything like me – and the millions under 35-yeard-old – then you have no recollection of what it can be like to be cooped up and isolated like this. But we’re not really isolated, are we? The answer to that is a big fat, “NO.”

While we may be physically restricted from driving – or in cases like my own, walking – down the streets to see our friends or catch up with what they’re doing, we are without a doubt still connected to them via good old social media. Back in 1978 during what was comparably our last huge blizzard, the only ways of communicating was taking to your rotary phone or catching the intermittent television report on the weather. Now, we can tweet, share, poke, pin and more to not only check up on our loved ones, but to simply pass the time when hit with a case of cabin fever.

Instagram has especially been favored in this snowpocalypse, where people are constantly sharing photos of themselves snowed in or waist-deep. Some people have even been instagramming themselves climbing out of windows because their doors won’t open. It just goes to show that when entire towns are shut down due to Mother Nature, they are still buzzing within the confines of their homes, constantly connected by the gleaming screen of their computer or handheld device.

Image via Shutterstock

“Call it what you will: The Hashtag Snowstorm, the latest Snowpocalypse or Snowtorious B.I.G. The weekend whiteout was a lifetime away from the blizzard of 1978, a world not just without social media but one devoid of endless Weather Channel warnings and the lifeline of mobile phones,” Yahoo reported today. “Even the last two years have upended the way we receive information. We've moved from text to photos and videos taken on smart phones and we can't let go.”

Steve Jones, professor of online culture and communications at the University of Illinois at Chicago said that “what really struck me this time around, and with (Superstorm) Sandy too, is not so much that people were sharing information, but that they were sharing photos are video.”

But while all of this social sharing continues, remind yourself of the importance of stepping outside to share a moment of authentic interaction with your neighbors or those you are snowed in with. It was a breath of fresh air – literally and metaphorically – for me to be able to step outside and greet my snowed-in street companions as they walked their dogs and played with their children.

So to all of you New Englanders, continue to stay warm and safe while you wait for the plows to arrive, and by all means, continue to share away!


Edited by Ashley Caputo



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