I wasn’t planning to say too much about last Friday evening’s magnitude 5.1 earthquake. It’s was modest in size, and although never entirely inconsequential, I’ve written about California’s seismic activity before. There isn’t much new to tell you.
But it’s still headline news here in Los Angeles.
It’s estimated that 17 million people felt the temblor, so perhaps that’s why every local news source and radio personality won’t stop talking about it.
It may have been a small earthquake, but we live close enough to the epicenter to have felt a good jolt. I might have been more undone by it, but I was distracted by poor Zena who swiftly made a bee-line for the back door, whimpering the entire way.
Once I was sure we were going to be fine, I returned to my Friday night activity. I had set aside an evening to learn all that I could about how to Tweet. Yes, Tweet!
I realized my deficiencies in this area when I attempted to join in the promotion of Andra Watkins’ recently published book, To Live Forever: An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis and her 444-mile walk of the Natchez Trace.
I know how to Retweet. Not too hard; there’s a button. But hashtags and the whole world of knowing when to mention versus reply, and then restrict the number of characters used? I was clumsy and just sure that if done incorrectly, I would be deemed a social media pariah!
No more than a minute after the quake I jumped in to Tweet my alarm bell in the quickly thrown out there, “Holy Crap! Earthquake! It made the dog cry! #earthquake.”
Not exactly poetry, but those fight or flight endorphins had me a little amped. To my surprise I immediately received a Tweet from my Canadian blogging friend Thea, checking in to ask if I was alright. I loved the immediacy of hearing from Thea and that propelled me to get a little bolder. I was off and running.
A few well-placed hashtags and I was following streams of information from all over the Southland. By Saturday I’d found my favorite seismologist, Dr. Lucy Jones @DrLucyJones, a brilliant scientist with the ability to educate the public in a sensitive and reassuring manner. She made her first Tweet on Saturday and immediately had thousands of followers.
Dr. Jones is immensely popular in Southern California, brought in after any significant seismic activity to demystify the event and calm the jumpy public. She explains plate tectonics in a way that almost makes us feel special! Well, not quite, but she emphasizes preparedness and that makes much more sense than hysteria. And following every emergency, headline grabbers love to promote fear.
I don’t Tweet much. And you can see that when excited I don’t have much to say other than a hasty exclamation. I think I may still have a lot to learn, but at least I’m not afraid of it any more.
And I can support Andra, and so can you! She just finished day 31 of walking the Trace and she’ll reach the final destination in Memphis this Thursday!
If you haven’t yet been introduced to Meriwether Lewis through her book and journey, do take the time to read her April 1st post HERE. You’ll quickly see why I am so eager to be a long-distance part of her adventure.
And my final word on the earthquake?
You know how enthusiastic I am about the lovely San Gabriel Mountains.
I think they are a continual reminder, a visual aid perhaps, of how Californians live with continual seismic activity. The same temblors that rattle our nerves are responsible for the beautiful mountain range.
We need to be prepared, and then we can still breathe lighter.