Everybody panic! An earthquake in Granada Hills has shaken up Los Angeles. Measuring 3.6 on the Richter scale, it struck at 11:41 pm PT on Tuesday night and caused “light shaking throughout the San Fernando Valley .”
Sadly for the mainstream media, the quake didn’t kill or injure anyone. Boo hoo.
A mild earthquake is not a “natural disaster.” But that doesn’t mean it’s not an opportunity to capitalize on a groundswell of mass hysteria.
No, it’s the perfect chance to exploit the public interest in quakes to gain more followers. It’s also proof that we’ll never believe anything has really happened until it trends on Twitter.
What’s the first thing you should do when an earthquake happens? Hide under a table? Run out of the house? Dial 911? Don’t be ridiculous – you have to jump on Twitter and post a video or GIF.
And don’t worry folks, because within minutes of the Granada Hills earthquake, there was already plenty of “hilarious” coverage on Twitter.
At 11:43 pm – a mere two minutes after the quake struck – Twitter user Zaddy Pippen (aka @BillyTheG33) posted a video of some shaking lamps. “Geez,” he says, as if his house was collapsing around him.
Not to be outdone, @aquariuslyem posted a rather delightful SpongeBob SquarePants GIF. His post went up only ONE minute after the quake hit.
Note this was a GIF rather than a video, since real footage would have been decidedly underwhelming.
Best of all was actor Brad Everett Young’s (@BradEYoung) genius Fresh Prince of Bel-Air GIF. Because nothing says melodrama like a young Will Smith overacting.
Let’s be clear. This was all about self-promotion. Earthquakes aren’t just a chance to crack a few jokes; they’re the perfect fodder for celebrities – and aspiring entertainers – to unleash a viral tweet.
Here’s comedian Sarah Silverman, who apparently doesn’t know what to do during an earthquake. At least she knows the first rule of disaster preparedness – get on Twitter.
Here’s “Artist/Actor/Director” Lana Parrilla. You’d think that, with her three job titles, she’d have something more important to do than tweet about minor earthquakes.
But then again, the Granada Hills earthquake was trending, so clearly it takes top priority.
Do you remember Kristy Swanson? She played Buffy in the original Buffy the Vampire Slayer film. No? Well, maybe you’ll remember her for her courageous earthquake reporting.
Here she is broadcasting live from the quake’s “epicenter”:
And here’s some band called Diamante, which launched a genius PR strategy to try to snag a few post-quake follows.
Apparently, one member of the band likes getting naked:
Sadly, the strategy didn’t pay off. Diamente’s tweet didn’t go viral.
As much as we mock Twitter, users genuinely rely on the social network to confirm what’s real and what’s not.
It wasn’t enough to feel tremors and see their furniture shake in the middle of the night. They needed Twitter to validate their first-hand experiences.
Another California earthquake, another window into our increasingly strange society. So here’s looking forward to the next one, so long as it isn’t too destructive.