Immediately following news of a moderate earthquake in Virginia that was felt in Washington D.C., New York City and as far south as Chapel Hill, N.C., aftershocks — of sorts — rippled across the Internet. Many turned to the U.S. first-alert system by default — Twitter — to find and share news of damage in our nation's capital, travel delays and how much they did (or didn't) feel the earth shake.
Even more jumped online to mock panic, make witty reference of eschatological beliefs of a cataclysmic event in 2012/and or that one John Cusack movie, sarcastically mourn the reported split of Will and Jada Pinkett-Smith, insult your political leanings, mock death and take advantage of ample opportunity for appending "that's what she said" on pretty much everything. And as is, I believe, required by law, the D.C. Earthquake now has its own Twitter account.
No less than eight tongue-in-cheek groups named around various versions of "I survived the Aug. 23 earthquake" popped up on Facebook, the most popular heading toward 1,800 "Likes" at the time of this post. A photo of the "D.C. devastation" on jmckinley's posterous blog post of July 2010 — a set of plastic lawn furniture with one toppled chair — became the popular photo link to retweet on Tuesday, quickly inspiring a photo meme of more earthquake non-devastation.
Even as nail-biting reports about Virginia nuclear plants that shut down circulated in the news, Foursquare tips on the new check-in "location" — Earthquakepcolypse — piled in by the thousands. (My fav, courtesy Matt S of Livingston, NJ: "Try the pie. It's delightful.")
Nothing inspires the humor center of the brain like the false sense of security that follows a quick reminder that Nature can kick your insignificant arse at anytime, only this time, it didn't. Observe.
@yeltup2: 5.8 earthquake ...that's kind of big right? Oh oh THATS WHAT SHE SAID!
On mocking your Twitter use:
@zarchasmpgmrFriends in the NE — check your loved ones, get out of masonry buildings, look for danger, then post to Twitter. That's the correct order.
@villagevoiceHow are people going to tweet earthquake jokes if their cell phones aren't working?
On mocking your overreaction:
@FINALLEVEL As long as everyone's ok...... Keep it moovin.. The EARTH is gonna do whatever the f*** it wants to do.
@dylanmatt: "In retrospect, I resorted to cannibalism rather fast after the earthquake."
On mocking your beliefs:
@mike_walsh: That was not an earthquake.. It was our nation's founders rolling over
@politicoroger: “We wouldn’t be having earthquakes like this if Hillary were president.”
@ArmisteadMaupin: Earthquake in DC? Stand by for Biblical explanation from Pat Robertson
On mocking New Yorkers:
@veronacodex: Not to be mean to people who just had a scare but tagging #nycearthquake on an earthquake 317 miles from NYC is the most New York thing ever
@jdickerson: Everyone calm down. If this is an earthquake on the east coast we’re supposed to react ironically.”
@katz: "I felt that earthquake last week" - Brooklyn hipster
On mocking the earthquake:
@baratunde: this #earthquake story is so over. can we talk about actual current events now?
@elizapi:Earthquake. Lolz. Thought I'd join in even if I'm nowhere near the east coast. It's the cool thing to do.
@hodgman: This guy in the cafe and I agree that we liked the earthquake when it first started. But now it's like, the wrong people are into it.
@dogboner: i hope ja rule is okay