One of the things I noticed during the days before the 2012 Presidential Election was how much talk there was in the news about politicizing Hurricane Sandy. Now, I don’t know if its just me, but I’m honestly still trying to figure out how we got from pre-Halloween October to post-election now almost Thanksgiving November at the moment. That being said, when I went to search for articles from the election I remembered one of the articles that caught my eye on twitter the day the power came back on.
It was from CNN Breaking News at the time, titled “Officials: Sandy-stricken areas will vote Tuesday ‘come hell or high water”. What I found so interesting about this article is that it talks about the voters, and only the voters. I just had to re-read it a second time but not once does this piece mention either Obama or Romney, or anything along the lines of “democrats think this but republicans think that” etc. While every election is historic in its own way, this one in particular is one for the books. Especially if you’ve heard or read any of the voting stories from people in some of the hardest hit areas on the East Coast. The article shows how even in the wake of the destructive forces of nature, voters were not about to let Sandy’s havoc stand in their way of having a voice in this election. People in New Jersey were allowed to cast their votes electronically, New Yorkers were allowed to go to any polling place to vote, and others up and down the eastern seaboard made the journey to the polls. Despite all the challenges thrown their way, from the storm damage, the chaos, no power, heat or water (for some of us), the flooding, the evacuations, the gas lines that looked worse than the lines you see at shopping centers on Black Friday… Americans pulled together and voted in the aftermath of both hell and high water (literally).
Now, as I was thinking of all the ways I could tie this back into the material from this semester something else occurred to me. When I signed up fot this class, I didn’t even have a twitter account. Yet during these past few weeks, I found out almost all of my news on twitter. I was actually dependent on this social media tool that, just a few months ago I thought wasn’t that important or even useful. I found out we were being evacuated on twitter, I found out NYU was closed through my twitter-feed, I found out who had power and who didn’t by tweeting, my roommate and I saw a picture of water rushing down 34th street where we live via a twitpic, I found out we could vote at any polling place in the city on twitter, I became one of 22,400 new followers of conEd on twitter, and finally, and this is probably my favorite one of all… It was twitter that told me that Barack Obama would get a second term as the President of the United States.
I couldn’t put my phone down or stop hitting the refresh button once the very first tweet showed up. Come hell or high water, or in this case both… Social media has proved to be an incredibly valuable tool for providing information to people. There was no other time I have seen or experienced this more than during Hurricane Sandy, its aftermath, and how it effected the 2012 presidential election.