Posted by: graceroxasmorrissey | November 18, 2013

Haiyan Facebook (pun intended)

As part of the dissipating FB early majority and with many “friends” living on the other side of the world (the Philippines), I haven’t really paid attention to FB for the last three years, except mostly for private messaging and populating the FB map with all those Yelp check-ins.

That is, until disasters happen, as they inevitably do whenever the Philippine monsoon season comes around. I know enough to start tuning in because a transformation will usually happen (as it is happening now after typhoon Haiyan).

The usual parade of surplus intelligence (e.g. “Candy Crush” saga updates, super albums of unedited vacation photos, assorted rants and over-shares) will become a concentrated stream of public service announcements, requests for assistance, emotional outpourings, media coverage from every possible angle, and yes, also conspiracy theories (“Haiyan is a microwave concoction of US and Japan”), celebrity fixation (“Anderson Cooper, the great white hope”), and more rants (typhoon-related this time).

What I find particularly interesting is a certain moral injunction, mostly tacit, that gets people to desist from posting “selfies” and other self-absorbed posts so that the news feed will be devoted to typhoon-related information. You get a sense of a real community in action. It’s great to be able to build that sense in fair weather but I guess we’ll take a typhoon if we have to.

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