GHOST EARTHQUAKES AND THE POWER OF SOCIAL MEDIA

Could the power of social media possible rival the power of natural disasters? An interesting thought considering over the past few weeks the Gold Coast has apparently been littered with activity by both.

However, according to Skinny & the Beard’s undeniably impeccable critique of resources provided by various social media networks (*cough) these earthquakes may have been a little less impressive than they were made out to be.

Without feeling the actual rumble of the earth beneath my feet to begin with, I was later informed by the ever-radical vicissitudes of Facebook that, “holy damn people! We just had an earthquake!”

Within five seconds of the first message, hundreds were to follow, leading me inevitably to believe that the world had collapsed absent of my actual notice.

Immediately ringing The Beard, rousing him from sleep, I yelled down the phone, “did you feel that?!” He replied, “I know!”

… despite the actual fact that none of us had felt a thing at all.

This prompts the interesting question with ‘the power of social media’ at its heart; are we now so bombarded by messages throughout the many platforms of social media that we have an inability to distinguish the true nature of actual events?

The Beard and I took to Periscope to ask the question, with a particular emphasis on the power of social media in a professional context relating to companies such as the Bureau of Meteorology and others that predict or comment on the severity of natural disasters.

A mixed bag of reactions from the ‘Scopers ensued:

“Nobody would have expected an earthquake to have happened here, it literally and figuratively blew up because of social media”

”We don’t have earthquakes in Florida, but you never hear about the ones that happen anywhere else until someone posts about it on social media”

“If you didn’t feel an earthquake but it was all over social media, do you consider the earthquake to have happened at all?”

Save the last odd piece of haunting existentialism, these ‘Scopers make a good point. Businesses, organisations and evidently even those responsible for reporting the weather have the ability to harness the power of social media to easily reach an entire populace in the blink of an eye, a power not to be discounted.

Hearing so intimately about the fires we didn’t feel, tsunamis that didn’t touch us or earthquakes that never even rumbled through our cushy Ugg boots is a good means of remembering that the power of social media is truly universal.

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