October 29, 2012, Superstorm Sandy surged through the coasts of New Jersey and New York. Thousands of residents were misplaced, some permanently. Hours before the storm made landfall, the power went out, and we were in the dark without more than just lights. Cell phone service went down. Televisions went out. Radios ran out of batteries. We had no idea what was happening beyond our neighborhoods.
Residents woke up and went outside to see fallen trees, broken fences, totaled cars and flooded streets. In some cases, people waited weeks to return to their homes just to see damage that was indescribable.
Something happened during this period of no television, though. We had to communicate. We had to help each other. People got in their cars, turned on the radio, charged their cell phones and searched for service. Residents posted on Facebook and Tweeted. We asked questions, and we gave whatever answers we could. People asked for help and the community was there via social media.
According to DigitalTrends.com, on Facebook, mentions of Hurricane Sandy and “Frankenstorm” increased one million percent, bringing the topic of “hurricane” to a 21,962 percent increase.
The number one top shared term – “We are OK.”
The rest of the top ten shared terms included:
2. Power (lost power, no power)
4. Hope everyone is OK
6. Made It
On Twitter, mentions of “Sandy” spiked to more than 400,000 between the hours of 7 p.m. and 11 p.m. as the storm made landfall and it casino online was the only way to communicate.
Instagram was also a top source of images as 10 photos per second were uploaded related to the storm. A total of more than 522,000 photos related to the Superstorm were uploaded on Instagram.
One local Facebook page was a go-to site for all things Sandy. Jersey Shore Hurricane News (JSHN) scouted the internet and welcomed community sharing for all information up and down the Jersey Shore. They shared power outage updates, supply information, gas station openings, donation sites, photos and inspiration.
JSHN was started by South Seaside Park resident, Justin Auciello. In the days leading up to and following Sandy, the JSHN Facebook page saw an increase in “Likes” up to 191,000 as people were turning to the page as a primary source for storm news.
Shortly after the storm, Cote Media’s CEO posted an image that was shared by JSHN, and became one of the most popular photos on the page.
In the months that have followed Sandy, residents have continued to help each other in the rebuilding efforts. The sense of community at the Jersey Shore has been a great thing to witness, and we are not only honored to be a part of it, but also inspired.