The storm we have just endured was unprecedented. We remember it now, and we’ll tell the story to our grandchildren in this same way: It was 5:30 p.m., and everyone’s Facebook statuses went negative. The emotional barometer of our news feeds changed from ‘excited’ to ‘anxious’ to ‘frightened.’
For days (a very long unit of time by social media standards), we saw it all; witty memes about the oncoming storm, cell phone pictures of empty store shelves and even legitimately informative tweets.
In short: our newest cultural phenomenon finally met the national disaster test this past week. Facebook and Twitter were around for Katrina, but these mediums have grown up a bit now. The surge of debris in the digital world could seem almost as widespread as that in the physical one. We learned of damage on campus and at the beach before we even saw it with our own eyes – and we live here!
With this kind of immediacy, it almost seems natural that Fairfield emailed us at least twice a day throughout the incident with barely updated information. The issue is: A fallen tree is a simple happening, and the existence of a school day carries a lot more weight – too much to be handled by twitter-like quantities of updates. Our cross-town rivals (dare we say) got it right with the week’s cancellation notice from the start. The fate of our Fairfield lives, however, was left in suspense numerous times.
But some emails were worth the effort because the student body has done wrong as well. We don’t think it will ever be written in this editorial column that drinking is bad, but we find it hard to accept the reality of drunken students being hospitalized during this particular week. If you disagree, think about how strict authorities on campus have vowed to be this weekend when the other 2/3 of campus finally returns – just because of a bad few.
Keeping emergency crews from the severity plaguing the world outside our thankfully spared campus with intoxication is just embarrassing.
Email away, Vice President Fitzpatrick; no fireman should have to tend to vomit as houses crumble in the sandy wake.