By Amanda Smyth Connor
Are we in the midst of an insane Hurricane right this instant as I write this blog post? Yes!
Is my mother near-hysterical in her makeshift post-apocalyptic bunker in New Jersey (..inland..not anywhere near the beach, or any water for that matter…) where she is heavily stocked with can goods, wine coolers and Janet Evanovich reading material? You bet your buns!
And here in Boston, am I not glued to social media and 24-hour news sources watching this Frankenstorm develop? ABSOLUTELY!
But I warn you, storm lover, weather fanatics and wine cooler bunker survivors – do not believe every photo and every Tweet that comes through in the waves of media covering this storm. We need to put hysteria and drama aside and remember to keep our hard-nosed wits about us.
1. Do NOT spend 12 uninterrupted hours watching the 24-hour news channels – this includes The Weather Channel. Believe me, there is only so much accurate reporting that can happen over the course of covering one story for many, many hours. At some point, your favorite and most trusted journalists will turn to Twitter for second-by-second updates, which you should know by now are not fact-checked.
2. Which brings me to my next point. Don’t trust everything you read on Twitter/Facebook. How many photos of flooding have you looked at in the last 3 hours? Like, a million. (Did you see the photo of the shark swimming through a backyard in NJ?) How many of those were photoshopped? We have no way of knowing. Please take these news sources with a grain of salt and don’t lose your heads. Remain calm.
3. Be part of the solution. Don’t hit that RT or SHARE button if you suspect that what you have just read seems too crazy to be true. Be a scout for trust-worthy news updates in the midst of a big story. Don’t continue the stream of hype without using sound judgement.
Light hearted blog posts aside, my heart goes out to any who have been seriously affected by the storm. If you are without power, please be safe and be careful.
Amanda Smyth Connor is a social media manager for a major publishing company and has managed online communities and content development for many start-up and Fortune 500 companies. She has been a professional editor for more years than she can remember.