So: expect this to be a little bit disjointed. And probably take up more than one post.
A little background on what happened after Sandy.
We lost power in Hoboken on Monday night, around 7 p.m. Lots of places in Hoboken did. There were also transformer fires, crackling in the sky. Then the Hudson River pushed its way onto our streets.
The next morning. No power, and a new adventure: the stinking water flooded our streets. Our neighbors on the first floor had retreated to our neighbors on the second floor to sleep, they told me. Only an idiot or a very brave cop would have walked in it. And in fact, a brave cop did (link to follow).
So: no power, no wi-fi. My phone’s power drained very fast, as did my husband’s. The hand crank flashlight/radio/phone charger didn’t charge my Samsung or my neighbor’s Blackberry at all.
No power, no social media. No social media, no social media strategy. The only media I could attend to when there was no power was my radio, and my beloved radio station WNYC.
I heard about the power strips randomly, walking down the street. A guy told me that the church up the hill was letting people charge their phones. No social media helped me find the church.
I am grateful in so many ways for my access to a computer and the Internet at work. And showers, too. Thank you, Ogilvy. Thank you , Ogilvy gym. I could fill out my FEMA application and yes, check on my friends via Facebook and send updates to my family via email. To be honest, I didn’t check many hashtags on Twitter. I found out about the hotels via an email sent by a neighbor. The first hotel–which one of my neighbors had *walked* to that morning and confirmed there were rooms–was most unwelcoming. The guy at the desk claimed that he had taken the hotel’s name off the FEMA list a long time ago. I didn’t confront him; I was very sick at the time, and so I just pushed off to the next hotel…but not before I alerted people on Foursquare that Hotel Indigo was no longer accepting FEMA/Sandy folks. I can’t remember if I said anything mean about them. I hope I did.
Later, I would social media up a storm. When I had time and sleep and electricity. I printed out a Google map that somebody had put together of resources in Hoboken. I made copies and handed them out on the bus. People seemed glad to get them.
Despite my addiction to social media, I rarely thought to consult Facebook or Twitter or Google Plus or Flickr or Instagram. I was just too overwhelmed. I did use social media to let people know that I was okay.