As everyone who is not currently living under a rock knows, the effects of Hurricane Sandy this week have been utterly devastating. As a native of New Jersey, it has been particularly difficult for me to see all of the pictures on Facebook, Twitter, and the news of places where many of my favorite childhood memories took place completely submerged in water. I am so thankful that my family is safe and sound, and has only had to deal with a power outage (which will likely continue for the next week or so). Unfortunately, there are many families who have not been as lucky, and my thoughts go out to any of you who have relatives or friends on the East Coast who have been affected by the storm.

In my opinion, one of the most interesting effects of a storm of this magnitude is its effect on communication and entertainment. Over 1.5 million homes are left without power (read: no electricity or cell phone service). My mom actually prepared for the outage by downloading several movies onto her iPad, and I’m sure many other people had the same idea. Many of us feel dependent on all of our technologies to entertain ourselves and communicate with each other. It is a sad question to have to ask, but how would you prepare for ten straight days without a phone or a television? I know that I could probably survive on a few good books, but other people are much more reliant on their technological luxuries – which have certainly become necessities for many – to live their lives.

The social media reaction to Sandy has been mind-blowing, to say the least. Have any of you noticed how many fake pictures, taken from movies such as The Day After Tomorrow, have been posted as if they were real-life photographs of Sandy’s aftermath? Of course, during major news events, the dissemination of fake and photoshopped pictures throughout social media is almost always a guarantee. What do you think is the motivation behind posting fake pictures of this storm? Do they make you think about events like Hurricane Sandy in a different way?

Social media has also decided to incorporate humor as a way of dealing with such a gloomy situation. Consider, for example, the many Twitter accounts that have cropped up as a result of the hurricane (at this moment, @AHurricaneSandy currently has 238,689 followers reading her every tweet; according to her latest tweet, Sandy is apparently attempting to blow Romney into Canada). And, of course, you’ve all seen the GIFs superimposing Sandy from Grease (or Spongebob’s friend Sandy, the upbeat cartoon squirrel) on top of views of the hurricane.

I haven’t quite decided how to feel about these social media reactions; all I’m hoping for is that the storm will soon pass, and that all those affected receive the help they need.

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