Was It An Earthquake? Or Only We Felt It?

Was it an earthquake? | Image Credit: khon2.com
Was it an earthquake? | Image Credit: khon2.com

This was the finest of the internet for a short while. For perhaps thirty seconds, I gazed at a vase filled with dehydrated Trader Joe’s flowers resting on my table, but I was too astonished to even begin to comprehend what was going on. Then I noticed the tweets (which, in my disbelief, I won’t even refer to as postings at this point).


Did you feel an earthquake there?

“Did everyone feel that way alone or”

“This is among the reasons I left California.”

“I’m thrilled that earthquake Twitter is now available to us on the East Coast.”

Before the less often online individuals even recognized what had happened, folks on microblogging sites (it wasn’t only X, I see you, Bluesky) had already assessed the magnitude of the earthquake, established it was an earthquake, and started making jokes about it.

It’s not often that something unites a whole area so quickly; commenters on my timeline from New Jersey, Philadelphia, New York City, and Massachusetts openly shared their stories. It reminds me of the days before irony on Twitter, when you could tweet anything like “eating a ham and cheese sandwich.” It was okay to express your true feelings, and everyone else was doing the same. It reminds me of the days when you could write anything like “is feeling sleepy” on Facebook or LiveJournal and never think about how nobody would truly care.

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Hours after an unanticipated fire alarm goes off, it’s similar to the cafeteria of a middle school. We’re all still giddy with a kind of innocent wonder and enthusiasm, feeding off each other’s astonishment and embellishing our memories of what transpired as though it were some legendary occasion. Everyone at work is no longer focused. Ron claims on Slack that his chair rocked a little and that he mistook it for a train. It feels like a car collision in California, according to Matt. Dom thinks that this was undoubtedly an earthquake; she used to live in Los Angeles. As a Californian living on the east coast, Brian claimed he wasn’t even aware of it. Next, I give my captivating story of this fleeting event that we have all just experienced: I mistook it for the washing machine of my neighbor.

We lamented the passing of an era when Elon Musk acquired Twitter and detractors began to migrate in droves to rival sites like Bluesky, Mastodon, Tumblr, and the defunct Pebble. Before 2022, there was only one choice for microblogging, and that was Twitter—unless you were a true fan of open source federated software. These kinds of incidents demonstrate the true worth of the so-called “public town square”; they allow us to find solace before others even realize what’s happening, such as when our boiler explodes or we go insane.

However, we start to realize what we’re missing when the most populated town square actively turns against anyone who aren’t cryptocurrency enthusiasts or Tesla investors. People are discussing cherry blossoms on Threads. I’m excited to hear about the new grocery shop that’s coming to my area on Facebook, but nobody seems to be discussing the earthquake.

Even though I’ve lived on the east coast my whole life, I had never felt the ground tremble beneath me. Immediately after, while I was reading through my Twitter stream, I began to miss the finest things that the internet had to offer: a sense of serenity, comfort, and community that let me know I wasn’t alone.