One of the key differences between the 1991 Halloween mega-storm and the 2010 Domebuster (both of which I helped cover for MPR News) is in the way we are able to share the misery and joy with each other through Facebook, Twitter and other social networks -- tools that did not exist 19 years ago.
In '91 the mainstream media defined the storm while personal accounts had fewer outlets. Back then we talked with our neighbors and maybe a few got quoted in a newspaper or TV story.
This time around, we shared our stories and photos with each other, and developed a common language online as the blizzards raged (not that there's anything wrong with good old oral history, which will probably last longer than anything we're coughing up onto social networks).
On Twitter, we developed funny ways to classify our messages through "hashtags" - and there were some doozies -- "Blizzardpeople" and "snOwMG" come to mind. We spread the news ourselves by Tweeting what we were seeing and forwarded messages we saw from news organizations on Twitter -- @MPRnews for example.
We posted pictures of ourselves up to our waists in snow, or of our kids enjoying a good ride on the sled.
Were social media important to you during the weekend blizzards? Did you get news via Twitter and Facebook?
Let us know, and make sure to check out our item on Facebook where we're collecting stories about acts of kindness during the winter storm. Here's an example from Eric Strom:
Some Soldiers from the Joint Forces Headquarters in St Paul spent Saturday afternoon shoveling some folks out, including a city bus. On the way home I got stuck and the favor was returned as a group of folks from my neighborhood (Kenwood) came by and helped to shovel me out!
And another from Ann Nasses:
Two neighbors I hadn't met before helped me get my car out of our hilly neighborhood so that I could get to work. It took an hour and a half, but they shoveled, snowblowed, and pushed my car until I got to the roads that were plowed. I wouldn't have made it without them.
Posted at 12:21 PM on December 13, 2010
by Eric Ringham
Somehow I missed one little detail when I read the AP story we published last week about "Alt for Norge," the Norwegian realty show that gives Norwegian-Americans a chance to look foolish in the old country:
Anyone who has ever been to Norway need not apply.
I had spent part of the snowbound weekend thinking about the audition video I was going to make (slow pan across the Christmas tree in my living room, coming to rest on the garland of little Norwegian flags. Cut to "morning routine" sequence, in which I try to decide which Norwegian sweater to wear today, before heading to the kitchen for a soft-boiled egg).
I reread the story this morning, when the Star Tribune published it (four days later, but who's counting?), and there it was: Contestants must never have been to Norway. I said a swear word, in English, though I know how to say it in Norwegian.
So there you have it: Being a contestant on "Alt for Norge" is prohibited for those of us who would be most likely to jump at the chance. Among us Norway nerds, success in life is measured in the number of trips we've managed to make there. I never had the illusion that having studied Norwegian in college would be useful, but I didn't think it would actually count against me.
The whole thing leaves me despondent. See? Just one more way I'd be perfect for the show.(5 Comments)