Tweeting Through the Tornado: Social Media Saved Me
By Rita Arens on May 26, 2011
I picked my daughter up from school early yesterday because I thought there would be extreme weather, and I was paranoid after the decimation of Joplin.
The sun shone and the birdies sang.
Then there was today.
I was totally joking. And note to Rita: It's Wednesday.
I grabbed Petunia, my work laptop, my cell phone and my work notebook and shut myself in the only room with a door in the basement. And then my mind starting doing its anxiety thing.
I heard thunder and rain and sirens going on, shutting off, going on. I live in the eastern suburbs of Kansas City.
And then they started pouring in: the tweets.
Finally the storm passed. Unfortunately, it took its toll on nearby Sedalia.
Even though I picked up my daughter early yesterday, even though we were two hours late this morning because of a dentist appointment, I asked.
And they made me feel better, normal even.
The sky was a mixture of puffy white, angry gray and brilliant blue as I drove to the school. Kind of like my mood.
"Were you scared?" I asked, as we walked to the car.
"Did you cry?"
"No, I tried to be brave about it."
The teachers did skits for the kids during the hour and a half they were in the basement. And apparently gave them Pop-Tarts because they were stuck down there during lunch. I am so impressed by their ingenuity and grace under pressure keeping all those kids entertained for so long.
I came back and realized I'd left people hanging, these people I'd relied on so heavily over the past two hours. So I tweeted I was home with my girl.
All told, I probably talked to at least 25 different people today, some of whom I barely know. They distracted me and filled my heart with their good mojo. I didn't feel alone anymore.
Thank you, my friends. It's an amazing thing when you can have community alone in the dark.