1:13 p.m. | Updated Revising timing of some hoax images shared on Twitter.
Hurricane Irene, which was traveling at aÂ leisurelyÂ 13 miles per hour, took its sweet time arriving in New York. As boredom quickly set in for many, Twitter became a massive chatroom of New Yorkers with nothing to do but tweet, retweet and tweet some more, from their homes.
It seems everyone joined in. Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg preached caution on his Twitter feed. News outlets used Twitter as a reporter’s notepad, sharing every aspect of the storm’s movement, wind gusts and damage. “Just lost power in Brooklyn…. on my ipad. It’s ok recharging now,” wrote Michael Milberger, an ABC News producer.
Many New Yorkers, faced with theÂ boredom after 24 hours in hibernation, turned intoÂ comedians and cub reporters for the day.Â There were dozens of pictures taken from the movie “The Day After Tomorrow,” where the Statue of Liberty is destroyed in a tidal wave, shared online.
Some criticized the thespian displays by television news anchors who donned bright raincoats and ventured into the streets and piers to report Irene’s destruction â€" at the time, the storm was still hundreds of miles away. Dennis Crowley, co-founder of Foursquare, took to the streets of New York with an iPhone, rubber boots and enough on-air charm to one-up Anderson Cooper of CNN. Mr. Crowley and his friendsÂ recordedÂ videos, documenting fallen trees and even tested the “capabilities”Â of their rubber boots.
As is usual in the excitement of breaking news events, Twitter became home to a lot of misinformation too.
An awe-inspiringÂ photo of “Hurricane Irene approaching North Carolina” began circulating social networks early Saturday evening and was quickly shared by thousands of people. The only problem: the image was actually taken weeks ago inÂ Pensacola, Fla., and had nothing to do with Irene. Still, the photo was viewed 270,000 times on TwitPic, a Twitter image Web site.
Another image, apparently of the East River flooding, began broadcasting across Twitter early Saturday. This was also a hoax, either taken in North Carolina hours before, or a previous storm in New York City.
Some images wereÂ pseudo-authentic, like one showing the Times Square subway station being inundated with flood waters â€" yet people on Twitter said it was taken several years ago. For many, it was difficult to decipher fact from fiction.
Not everyone on Twitter was impressed with the jovial attitude ofÂ New Yorkers. Sarah Cooley, a social media consultant, wrote: “I know this is NYC but I’m kind of over the sarcasm. There is still flooding all over the city and long island was hit really hard.”
Correction: The alleged photo of Times Square flooding was not taken during Hurricane Irene; the image of the East River was also from an earlier time period.