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Thursday, May 16, 2024

Is it simply me, or was that an earthquake?

For only a temporary second, this was the web at its greatest. I stared at a vase of dried out Dealer Joe’s flowers, rumbling on my desk for possibly thirty seconds, however I used to be too shocked to even course of what was taking place. Then, I noticed the tweets (which, on this second of shock, I refuse to name X posts).


“was that an earthquake??????”

“did everybody simply really feel that or”


“So excited that us east coasters can lastly get earthquake Twitter”

It’s uncommon that one thing occurs so all of the sudden that unifies a whole geographic area — folks from New Jersey, Philadelphia, New York Metropolis and Massachusetts chimed in on my timeline, every unabashedly sharing our experiences. It’s like the old-fashioned Twitter, the place you may submit “consuming a ham and cheese sandwich” and it wasn’t ironic. You had been invited to say precisely the way you felt, and everybody else was doing it too. It’s like previous LiveJournal or Fb statuses, the place you may submit “is feeling sleepy” and by no means think about that nobody actually cares.

Individuals on microblogging websites (it wasn’t simply X — I see you, Bluesky) had already decided the scope of the earthquake, confirmed it was, in truth, an earthquake, and started posting jokes in regards to the state of affairs earlier than the much less chronically on-line folks even realized what occurred.

“The window simply blew so robust it shook our total home ?!?” my good friend Andrea texted me.

“andrea I feel there was an earthquake,” I responded. “my residence simply shook and everybody in big apple is like EARRHWUAKE.” I used to be not spelling very nicely on this preliminary interval of shock.

“I go away for ONE WEEKEND,” texted Dan, who’s watching this all unfold from a spot past our wildest horrors (the Atlanta airport).

It’s like a center college cafeteria, hours after an unplanned hearth alarm goes off. We’re all buzzing with a sure naive pleasure and awe, bouncing off of one another’s shock and exaggerating our reminiscence of what occurred, prefer it was some legendary occasion. Everybody has misplaced focus at work. On Slack, Ron says he thought it was a practice, and his chair shook slightly. Matt says that in California, it normally seems like a automobile crash. Dom says she used to reside in LA, and this was undoubtedly an earthquake. Brian mentioned, as a Californian on the east coast, he didn’t even really feel it. Then, I share my very own riveting account of this temporary second all of us simply skilled: I assumed it was my neighbor’s washer.

When Elon Musk purchased Twitter, and critics launched into a mass exodus into platforms like Bluesky, Mastodon, Tumblr (and even ones that not exist, like Pebble) we mourned the top of an period. There was once only one possibility for microblogging, and it was Twitter, except in case you had been actually into open supply federated software program earlier than 2022. Moments like these present that there actually is worth within the so-called “public city sq.” — it’s a method for us to know that we aren’t loopy, or our boiler isn’t exploding, earlier than anybody even is aware of what’s occurring.

However when probably the most populous city sq. is turning into actively extra hostile to individuals who aren’t crypto bros or Tesla stockholders, we get a way of what we’re lacking. On Threads, persons are speaking about cherry blossoms. On Fb, I’m delighted to be taught there’s a new grocery retailer coming to my neighborhood, however nobody is speaking in regards to the earthquake.

As a life-long east coaster, I skilled one thing I’ve by no means felt earlier than as the bottom shook beneath me. And instantly, scrolling by means of my Twitter feed, I felt nostalgic for what the web provides us at its greatest: a way of calm, consolation and camaraderie that I wasn’t alone.

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