Exactly one week after Hurricane Sandy’s devastation, we are all too familiar with the horrific scenes of rushing floodwaters and flattened homes along the East Coast. News broadcasts are now filled with emotional coverage of mourning families pleading for help from their water-engulfed neighborhoods. Yet, despite the heartbreaking destruction, many people still chose to abuse their access to social media, posting fake pictures of the alleged damage that Sandy has left behind.
Social media damage control was a necessity in the hours following the storm, with many followers duped into sharing the doctored images. While some pictures were simply lifted from online photo galleries, others traveled the extra mile by grabbing screenshots from movies like The Day After Tomorrow, and adding true-to-life captions. This is not to mention the tactless celebrity comparisons like, “Snooki is a lot like Hurricane #Sandy. They’re both heading to Jersey Shore with intentions to blow everyone within a 50-mile radius” posted by a Twitter user.
With the startling evidence of thoughtlessness and the incessant need for attention and buzz, our societal priorities must be called into question. We are hyper-connective by nature, sharing and liking anything that retains shock value on a daily basis, let alone during a national emergency. But given the lives that were already lost during Sandy’s travel in the Caribbean, why take this storm and turn it into a joke?
The answer to that question remains to be seen; however, in the mean time stay smart when cruising your social media sites, especially during weather emergencies of any magnitude. If you come across an image that raises your suspicion, check out some online tips to avoid sharing incorrect information. Using these tips will not only decrease the unwarranted buzz that has circulated from false facts, but will also keep you and your followers better informed during an emergency.