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Is it just me, or was that an earthquake?



Is it just me, or was that an earthquake?

For only a transient 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 30 seconds, however I used to be too shocked to even course of what was occurring. 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?”


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

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

It’s uncommon that one thing occurs so instantly that it 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 possibly can put up “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 It’s like outdated LiveJournal or Fb statuses, the place you possibly can put up “is feeling sleepy” and by no means think about that nobody actually cares.

It’s like a center faculty cafeteria, hours after an unplanned hearth alarm goes off. We’re all nonetheless 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 prepare, and his chair shook a bit. Matt says that in California, it normally appears like a automotive crash. Dom says she used to dwell in LA, and this was positively 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 transient 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 to platforms like Bluesky, Mastodon, Tumblr, and even ones that now not exist, like Pebble, we mourned the tip of an period. There was once only one choice for microblogging, and it was Twitter, until you had been actually into open supply federated software program earlier than 2022. Moments like these present that there actually is worth within the “public city sq.” — it’s a approach for us to know that we aren’t loopy, or our boiler isn’t exploding, earlier than anybody even is aware of what’s happening.

However when essentially 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 study there’s a new grocery retailer coming to my neighborhood, however nobody is speaking in regards to the earthquake.

As a lifelong East Coaster, I skilled one thing I’ve by no means felt earlier than as the bottom shook beneath me. And instantly, scrolling via my Twitter feed, I felt nostalgic for what the web offers us at its greatest: a way of calm, consolation, camaraderie and reassurance that I wasn’t alone.

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