News. It’s everywhere. We’re constantly surrounded by it. It can be overwhelming if you’re not careful. But how do you hear about the important stuff? How do you filter through to find what’s important to you before getting overwhelmed?
Today we had a massive water main break in our town. Luckily, because we’re involved in the local schools, we heard about it first thing in the morning with the school closing alerts. The alert was very specific as to where the event happened and what it affected. Since I hadn’t heard anything from my job, I went ahead and got ready for work. Just as I was walking out the door I received a text message alert that the university was closed and that I needed to work from home.
Awesome! I can catch up on some work without being interrupted by meetings. Let me just jump onto Twitter quickly to send an update to the students and see what is going on around campus…….
Hours later (obviously, because who just “jumps onto Twitter quickly”?!?!?), I emerge from my social media cocoon. According to Twitter, water has been delivered to the residence halls, porta-potty’s are being sent to campus, and of course, a list of which coffee shops are up-and-running has been announced. Water, bathroom, coffee. The most important things in life.
As I’m finishing my own 3rd cup of coffee, which I made from tap water, I realize I hadn’t heard anything as to if the water was safe to drink if you do have water. I did a little digging on the city website and didn’t find anything. So I ventured on back to Twitter. Oh look, one of the first tweets is an alert that the entire city is on a boil order. Great. I hope this wasn’t my LAST cup of coffee.
But this got me thinking. How do people get their news? If I were an elderly person who doesn’t have kids in the schools, am not into technology, and our TV news stations broadcast from the “big city” that’s 2 hours away, how would I ever have known about any of this? How would I know not to drink my water? How would I know, before I drove into town to run errands, that many of the businesses are closed? What if I don’t have a smart phone and can’t get text alerts from work?
I love social media. I love how effectively it can notify people of important news. I love how it can connect people. I love how it can serve as a support system when the unexpected happens. But we could be doing more than just sending out tweets.
When you hear of big news, take a minute to think of some of the people you can reach out to. Maybe you can simply take your dog for a walk and stop to talk to neighbors. Maybe you can actually call a coworker (gasp!) who doesn’t have a smart phone or computer. Let’s not take it for granted that we have technology at the tip of our fingers and can find out anything at any time. Once you get the updates that you need, be kind, share the knowledge!